Deputies say no crime was committed after Bronson student claims teacher punched him, teacher could return

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 6:56 PM EST
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BRONSON, Fla. (WCJB) - A 12-year-old Bronson student claimed his substitute teacher punched him early last week.

Deputies say the student had taken a pen from Garin Osteen’s desk and was playing a game of keep away with the 20-year-old substitute teacher.

“As the teacher was grabbing for the pen, the student was obviously trying to keep away from him -- it appeared, I guess the student might have been struck,” said Levy County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Lt. Scott Tummond.

However, deputies say the investigation into the claim has come to a close with no evidence that there was a crime committed.

Because the substitute teacher was an at-will employee-- if his re-evaluation goes well, their is a possibility he could return to the classroom.

“If he does decide he would like to come back-- one of the things we do, is we evaluate. We have a very strict professional development to try and create support for our teachers ... so we are making sure we give those opportunities and make sure people go through this processes before they enter the classroom with our students,” said Superintendent Christopher Cowart.

Deputies say after days of investigations and interviewing 22 students and several staff members, the statements from witnesses did not match up with the student’s version of the story. School leaders say they’re sticking to the investigation’s findings.

“We are making sure we are doing everything to ensure student’s safety but also giving our employees their due process and their rights.”

The student’s father, Alan Brooks, claims another student did admit they saw the situation happen. He says he’s upset no one reached out to him from the school to apologize or explain the incident and that he is not done fighting for his son. He says he doesn’t agree with the investigation’s conclusion.

“Everyone makes mistakes-- everyone. I have made some in my life. But if they had talked to me ... it never would have gone this far ... but everyone I talked to wanted to cover that teacher’s butt,” said Brooks. “We are gonna see what we can do. I just don’t understand how he can get away with two people saying my son got hit-- that teacher hit him. I got teachers calling saying he don’t wanna do his work in school-- he don’t wanna go back to that school.”

There is the possibility that the family of the student could take separate legal action.

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