Panel suspends Clay art teacher’s license

By Eric Cravey
Posted 4/5/18

TALLAHASSEE – State officials ordered a six-month teaching certificate suspension of a former Fleming Island High art teacher and placed him on two-years’ probation after both parties entered a …

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Panel suspends Clay art teacher’s license

Posted

TALLAHASSEE – State officials ordered a six-month teaching certificate suspension of a former Fleming Island High art teacher and placed him on two-years’ probation after both parties entered a settlement agreement.

According to the Florida Education Practices Commission agreement released on March 13, Paul H. Suter, 38, of Middleburg, is also being required to take a college-level course on adolescent behavior and pay a $750 fine.

UndePaur terms of the agreement, Suter must make a “B” or higher on the course. Officials also placed a letter of reprimand in his Clay County School District personnel file. The March 13 settlement marks the second time since 2007, Suter has been brought up on charges with the Commission.

The newest case goes back to the 2015-16 school year, in which Suter “engaged in improper communication and had an inappropriate relationship with [redacted text] a 16 year old female student,” states the July 6, 2017 administrative complaint from Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

According to the complaint, Suter allowed the student to skip class and stay in Suter’s classroom where he “gave her inappropriate notes.” The complaint also states Suter visited the student at night while she attended community college classes and allowed her to sit in his car with him rather than attend classes.

The Commission is requiring Suter undergo a mental health evaluation “relating to the issues cited in the Administrative Complaint.” He is also ordered to pay all costs associated with the terms of the agreement, such as the mental health evaluation.

During his six-month suspension, Suter is prohibited from teaching, being employed by a Florida public school district or serving in “any capacity requiring direct contact with students.”

The Commission also warned Suter of the state’s “Three Strikes” provision in that if he is brought up on charges again in the future of his teaching career, his teaching certificate will be permanently revoked.

In 2007, when Suter applied for his teaching certificate, the Commission denied his application after conducting a background check.

The background check revealed Suter was charged with driving under the influence involving a fatality that took place February 18, 2001. On May14, 2003, Suter entered a plea agreement in which he was adjudicated guilty of DUI only.

The Commission charged Suter of having been found guilty of “gross immorality or an act involving moral turpitude.”

Suter’s teaching certificate was not revoked 2007. Officials only gave him a letter of reprimand that would remain on file with the Florida Department of Education, while a copy was sent to the Clay County School District to be placed in his personnel file.

“This panel, comprised of your peers, believes that, as a teacher, you are required to exercise a measure of leadership beyond reproach. By your actions, you have lessened the reputation of all who practice our profession. The profession cannot condone your actions, nor can the public who employ us,” states the 2007 letter of reprimand from Commission Presiding Officer Brian Donovan.

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