Top teacher at Jacksonville school suspended after students flash breasts, grope others in class

The Lake Shore Middle School teacher was suspended a week without pay

A Lake Shore Middle School Teacher of the Year was suspended one week without pay Monday because seventh-grade students in his class flashed their breasts and several girls and boys kissed and touched each others’ crotches.

A boy also licked a girl’s breast in a truth-or-dare-like game during class time, according to an investigator.

According to the district’s investigative report, Brent Sawdy, a civics teacher, allowed students to watch a science program or work on their own school work May 2 while he completed some work at his desk and on a computer.

Many students had just returned from a field trip to the Diamond D. Ranch. Sawdy told them he had work to do and turned on a “Bill Nye the Science Guy” episode. Because no students paid attention to it, he turned it off and played music.

A group of students gathered chairs around a set of tables decided to play “dirty dare.” A girl loudly warned “anybody that has a girl friend needs to go to the other side of the room,” several students said.

As part of the game a boy was told the lick the floor but he wouldn’t do it. Other students were dared to licked a chair and a pair of socks and they did it.

The activity soon escalated into sexual situations.

Some girls were dared to kiss boys and other girls. One girl “twerked on” a boy, dancing close to him as he sat.

Some students said they saw students rub other students’ “groin areas.”

Two girls flashed boys, lifting their shirts and bras to reveal their breasts. A boy then was dared to lick a girl’s exposed breast and did.

Some students slapped other students’ butts and a girl sat on multiple boys’ laps.

The students said they believed Sawdy was unaware of their activities.

“Mr. Sawdy kept telling them to keep it down but didn’t actually do anything,” one girl said.

The investigative file blacked out the students’ names, in keeping with federal and state privacy laws.

In one instance, Sawdy saw a boy tap a girl’s inner thigh, the students said. Sawdy later told investigators he pulled that boy aside and warned him that “that kind of play could get him in trouble.”

Sawdy declined to comment, citing advice from his legal counsel.

Sawdy told investigators he did not see students do anything else troubling, nor did he hear or see them play the dare game.

Nevertheless, the following day, after Sawdy was aware of a parent complaint, he called some students to the media center and asked about their actions.

“They all denied anything had happened,” Sawdy told investigators. One student told him he was crazy.

As the students left, one girl told other students not to “snitch,” students said.

Some parents who complained to the school secretary about the game were “not upset but concerned about behavior” in Sawdy’s class, investigator James Gregory wrote.

Duval County school police and the Division of Children and Families investigated. A DCF investigator found the allegations of “inadequate supervision” substantiated and closed the investigation.

The police report indicated the school will handle the discipline of students involved.

“Mr. Sawdy failed to provide adequate supervision when he allowed students in his class to participate in an inappropriate game which involved kissing and exposure of private body parts,” Gregory wrote.

This is Sawdy’s first time being disciplined by Duval schools.

Last year he was nominated Teacher of the Year by his school and was among 12 semifinalists chosen by the district.

A brief biography in the nominating information sent by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, which sponsors the Teacher of the Year awards, said Sawdy works with students before, during and after school and that “students revere Mr. Sawdy and are very receptive to his method of teaching.”

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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