Florida Teacher Suspended For 10 Days For Using Racial Slur, Other Offenses


A Florida middle school teacher was suspended for 10 days for “using the ‘n’ word” and other offenses, according to an investigation by Duval County Public Schools obtained by WJAX.

Kernan Middle School teacher David Swinyar also called his students dumb and made comments like “You all should not be dating these different African American boys because they are not worth it,” according to Cole Heath, a reporter for WJAX who posted an excerpt of the report online.

According to a letter from Kernan Middle School Principal Julie Hemphill posted online by WJAX’s Danielle Avitable, the investigation into Swinyar began in October.

Swinyar’s suspension without pay began on Thursday, WJAX reported.

Asked Wednesday why Swinyar wasn’t fired, the school district told WJAX in a statement in part that “Teacher discipline is governed by the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the district and the union,  which provides for progressive discipline.”

“While the employee has not been the subject of a prior investigation,” the statement added later, “due to the severity of the conduct in the referenced investigation, several steps in the progressive discipline process were skipped. The recommendation for a 10-day suspension without pay was approved by the Board on Tuesday, March 6 during the School Board meeting.”

The school board’s meeting notes from March 6 show that it approved the suspension “for unprofessional conduct.”

Asked for further comment on why Swinyar wasn’t fired, Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patricia S. Willis told TPM in an email Friday that “when employees fail to meet our standards for ethical behavior, we take action as allowable in the collective bargaining agreement between the district and the appropriate bargaining agent.”

“Please note that following Mr. Swinyar’s suspension, he will be reassigned to an assignment with no student contact for the remainder of the year,” Willis added. “As an annual contract employee, Mr. Swinyar’s employment contract with the district expires June 30, 2018.  In May, recommendations for contract renewals for all annual employees will be considered.”

This post has been updated.