GIG HARBOR, Washington - A Peninsula School District teacher seen apparently bullying a student in a cell phone video that was released this week was originally scheduled to be in a new classroom next week, but
KIRO 7 learned late Thursday that may not be the case anymore has now been placed on paid administrative leave, KIRO 7's Deborah Horne learned Friday.
Video of teacher John Rosi and students in a Kopachuck Middle School class apparently bullying a 13-year-old boy last February just became public.
Rosi had been scheduled to teach math at Harbor Ridge Middle School next week. On Thursday, acting superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto said Thursday that was being evaulated based on the content of the video, and on Friday, an official with the district confirmed he'd been placed on leave.
As soon as the story hit kirotv.com, outrage erupted with comments like, “This teacher nedds to be jailed,” “WHY CAN’T THEY JUST FIRE THESE BAD PEOPLE (sic),” and “you are not safe, John Rosi.”
According to a statement from Cuzzetto, a “general threat” regarding the incident was delivered to the district Thursday, which resulted in the temporary lockdown of two schools. The district wouldn’t reveal which schools, and only said they were the two most closely linked to the incident; most likely Kopachuck, which the incident occurred, and Harbor Ridge, where Rosi is tentatively scheduled to teach.
“I think that he should be fired,” Kopachuck parent Shay Winget said. “I think that he should be removed from the classroom.”
That was a frequent sentiment in Gig Harbor on Thursday, as KIRO 7 crews found.
Jami Lund of the Freedom Foundation, an Olympia-based non-profit that advocates for more school choices, said that because of teacher contracts and tenure law, district superintendents don’t have the discretion to immediately fire a teacher, even in a case like this.
“It’s such an unwieldy process that includes a number of appeal rights, including court appeals, that it can take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to ultimately turn loose an educator who has questionable practices in the classroom,” Lund said.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the alleged bullying incident. Cuzzetto said Thursday an amended decision regarding Rosi could be made based on any new evidence resulting from that investigation.
A criminal conviction could hypothetically result in a teaching certificate revocation.