A teacher in Marion County, Florida, has returned to his classroom duties after an unpaid suspension for allegedly touching a female student with a banana. The school district suspended Jonathan Hampton from his teaching job at North Marion High School after the student's parents complained, nearly three months after the incident.
According to his discipline letter dated May 13, 2013, a student said Hampton "rubbed a student's head and neck area with a banana" during a lecture about "cylinder objects, phalluses and/or sex symbols." Hampton's stepfather, Mark Fiedelholtz, a South Florida lawyer, said, "According to my son - which has not been reported - he doesn't recall ever touching the student with a banana, but if he did it would be to get their attention."
"That is disgusting, very disgusting," said Dale Johnson, a grandmother at the school. "I don't think he should be allowed to teach kids. You don't do stuff like that and get away with it." A district spokesman said it seems the teacher was using the banana as a prop in his Freudian psychology lecture and said the discussion topic was district-approved, but the touching was inappropriate.
The district said the girl's parents complained because she felt embarrassed. And she wasn't alone. The district said other students felt the topics in his advanced class veered over the line with "excessive frequency, causing discomfort to many of your students," said the letter. Hampton's stepfather, Fiedelholtz, disputed the possible sexual connotation of the banana.
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