Huffpost Education

Jaclyn Ockerman, Florida Teacher Accused Of Slapping Students, Still Employed Pending Judge Ruling

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Jaclyn Ockerman.
Jaclyn Ockerman.

Jaclyn Ockerman, a special needs teacher for Florida's Lake County Schools, is still in the system, and will stay for at least another month, the Daily Commercial reports.

In a July letter to Ockerman, Lake County Superintendent Susan Moxley expressed her intent to recommend that the school board terminate the teacher for allegedly violating the teacher code of ethics, News 13 reported.

"Specifically, you have slapped, squeezed faces and pulled forcibly the faces of the students, which as kindergarten, Autism Spectrum Disorder, you are responsible for teaching," Moxley wrote, according to the Daily Commercial.

Ockerman is appealing the firing and is waiting for the formal hearing before a judge Sept. 10. She has been pulled from the classroom and reassigned to administrative duties in the interim.

According to WFTV, Ockerman is also accused of intimidating other staff to keep them from reporting her actions. A teacher's aide eventually came forward to the school principal.

Lori Cangialosi had Ockerman as one of her first teachers.

"She cried every day I dropped her off," Cangialosi told the Daily Commercial. "Sometimes I wouldn't even drop her off, just couldn't… I will never be able to prove it, but I know my daughter and something wasn't right there."

Allegations of teachers using physical force against students are not isolated in Florida. California teacher Jennifer Gonzalez was accused this summer of slapping a student six times while citing the movie "Bridesmaids."

School officials chose to support the teacher and announced that they would not place her on administrative leave.

In a contrary school decision, Michigan school teacher Sharon Turbiak was fired in July following allegations that she abused preschool students with special needs.

She is accused of "slapping, grabbing and force feeding special-needs preschoolers in her classroom, among other unprofessional classroom management practices." Turbiak is appealing the school's decision.