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Pinellas County Schools Find Texting Teacher Inappropriate

Pinellas County Schools find texting teacher inappropriately engaging with a young female student. Ryan Wilson, a Nature Coach Technical High School teacher, exchanged text messages with the young girl as well speculation the pair had some sort of relationship. The school interim superintendent reprimanded Wilson for "inappropriate and extensive text messaging." Wilson's defense was "I was told to communicate with the cell phone" per instructions of a previous athletic director.

The Hernando County staff handbook as well as Florida's state code of ethics and professional conduct have no written regulations regarding the use of text messaging. A School Board member stated Wilson should have used his "common sense" despite the lack of formal rules regarding text messaging. Joe Vitalo, the president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association, claims Wilson's case is a "gray area."

Apparently teachers, coaches, and extracurricular activity leaders in the district have utilized text messaging to coveniently communicate canceled practices, rescheduled rehearsals, or other information since virtually all of the districts' students possess cell phones.

School Board members of the school district, as well as Superintendent Jackson have indicated the need to clarify policies regarding texting and content of text to prevent future problems. Jackson said "I think with a policy in place, it would make staff think twice."

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