The Peninsula School District teacher embroiled in controversy over his role in an alleged classroom bullying incident captured on video last year wont return to the classroom when school starts Tuesday.
Acting Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto said Friday that officials decided the controversy generated by the incident involving middle school teacher John Rosi would disrupt the educational process.
Given the turmoil, it would take away from the educational program, Cuzzetto said.
Cuzzetto said that Rosi was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday. He said the teacher will remain on paid leave until the Pierce County Sheriffs office completes its investigation of the incident.
Rosi received a 10-day suspension without pay last year after students used cell phones to record kids tormenting an eighth-grade boy. The videos about 15 minutes in all show Rosi as an observer and occasional participant. In the videos, kids drag the boy around a classroom, peel off his socks, stuff a sock in his mouth, confine him on the floor with overturned chairs and more. The videos show Rosi watching, then at one point joining in and smiling at the cameras apparently aware of the students recording the action.
The incident occurred during a class designed to help students master math and reading.
The boys parents call the incident bullying, and have criticized the school district for downplaying what happened. Rosi, in a written statement to school officials, classified it as horseplay and justified it as a chance for the kids to take a break from the daily grind.
The incident occurred in February at Kopachuck Middle School. After serving the 10-day suspension, Rosi was ordered not to return to Kopachuck and was re-assisgned as a roving substitute teacher for the remainder of last school year. Cuzzetto said that on days Rosi was not needed to substitute, he was supposed to sit in on other teachers classes to observe classroom management.
He had been assigned to teach math at Harbor Ridge Middle School beginning on Tuesday. But Cuzzetto said the school was hearing from parents who asked that their child not be assigned to Rosis class.
Also on Friday, Pierce County Sheriffs detectives served a search warrant at an apartment in Lynnwood as part of their investigation into threats made to the school district through its Website.
The writer threatened violence if Rosi did not resign.
A Sheriffs Department news release said investigators seized a computer and computer accessories from the apartment. Detectives contacted the resident of the apartment, who stated the comment was poorly worded and was not intended to threaten anyone.