Incident Not Gym Teacher's First Warning; History: He Had Been Reprimanded More Than Once for Demeaning Students. Future: The School System Is Trying to Fire Him for Dec. 3 Discipline Dispute

By Mitchell, Tia | The Florida Times Union, December 22, 2007 | Go to article overview

Incident Not Gym Teacher's First Warning; History: He Had Been Reprimanded More Than Once for Demeaning Students. Future: The School System Is Trying to Fire Him for Dec. 3 Discipline Dispute


Mitchell, Tia, The Florida Times Union


Byline: TIA MITCHELL

The Jacksonville middle school teacher arrested earlier this month and charged with calling a stepfather to school and encouraging him to whip his child with a belt has also been accused of demeaning students and angrily calling parents in the past.

The school system is now moving to fire Aaron Jackson, a physical education teacher at Paxon Middle School.

Jackson, 52, a 30-year veteran of the school district, has worked primarily as a gym teacher, including stints at Pine Forest Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Andrew Jackson High School and 16 years at Paxon Middle. He makes $64,301 a year.

The Times-Union's efforts to contact Jackson were unsuccessful.

The complaints against him date back years, according to a Times-Union review of his personnel file.

In 1999, the school's principal, Theresa Hodge, formally documented Jackson's actions toward students, parents and staff. In a May 1999 reprimand letter, she cited similar incidents to the most recent one.

"Your demeanor with students has been and continues to be an embarrassment to the entire educational setting," she wrote. "Do not call parents when you are angry or upset."

Hodge also reprimanded Jackson in August of that year, saying that he screamed and punched doors when he was approached about concerns.

Jackson often defended his behavior in written responses. Regarding the May 1999 incident, he said he decided to call a student's mother only after another faculty member encouraged him to do it.

The school system referred Jackson for discipline to the state Department of Education that year, which determined that no probable cause existed to suspend or revoke his teaching certificate.

His personnel file also includes a reprimand stemming from a 1997 incident where Jackson, who is black, was accused by another principal at the school of calling students insulting names and using a racial epithet.

At the time, an internal district investigation sustained charges against Jackson for "intentionally exposing students to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement." The state was also notified of that incident, though there is no indication is his file that action was taken.

Despite those concerns, Jackson received mostly satisfactory marks on his annual performance evaluations, including the most recent one in his personnel file, dated March 2006. …

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