Buchholz principal removed, investigation reveals misconduct

Published: Oct. 25, 2017 at 6:30 PM EDT
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The former principal of Buchholz High School is transferring to the district's transportation department, and officials say he won't be dealing with students.

Mike DeLucas was reprimanded back in September for commenting on a student's dress code violation he had noticed weeks before.

"We had received notification about a social media posting from a student regarding some comments from the principal," said Jackie Johnson, Communications Director for Alachua County Public Schools.

The student wrote that DeLucas told her she was "wearing a really low shirt" and he "felt like a dirty old man" talking to her. During the investigation --- DeLucas defended himself in a statement saying he was just trying to warn the student to be careful about what she wears to school, and separately in an email to TV20 that the conversation was "not sexual in nature."

But that's when multiple other women came forward.

"In the course of that investigation other people, employees of the school, came forward and also shared some information about inappropriate comments," Johnson said.

These four employees say DeLucas called students and co-workers "attractive," "beautiful," and "supermodel hot." In one case telling a teacher she should be "flattered" her students started rumors of her having an affair with another student.

"These were violations of both our standards of ethical practices and our anti-harrassment policy," Johnson said.

DeLucas has denied some of the incidents, explaining that he compliments both men and women, and never meant to make anyone uncomfortable. In reference to the interaction with the student he writes, "...I can see that while my approach is well-intentioned, it may be a bit tone-deaf and unrefined."

Since the investigation 14 people have written statements defending his character.

Johnson says DeLucas has since gone through counseling and title-nine training. DeLucas declined to be on camera but told TV20 in an email that he maintains that he has done nothing wrong and was just doing the job he was asked to do.

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