A Florida physical education teacher has his job back after a long-term suspension and termination hearing which resulted after a 17-year-old Internet celebrity allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old student he may have met at a rogue middle school pizza party.
The teacher is Adam Reynolds, reports local CBS affiliate WTSP.
The Internet sensation is Carter Reynolds, the teacher’s half-brother and “a new up and coming social media star,” according to his website Itscarterreynolds.com.
The site of the pizza party was Ben Hill Middle School in a tranquil, tree-lined neighborhood of Tampa, Fla.
The pizza party occurred in April 2014. The teacher brought his half-brother, a Vine superstar with over 4 million followers, to school for a pizza party with 12 starstruck students as guests.
In May 2014, the principal at Hill Middle School said Reynolds had been insubordinate because administrators did not give permission for the party. At that time, Reynolds was suspended (presumably with pay).
School officials then placed Reynolds on unpaid leave in October with the recommendation that the school board terminate his employment.
“Over a year I’ve been unemployed for a pizza party,” Reynolds told WTSP.
There was this other wrinkle, though. A few days after the pizza party, Reynolds also organized a meet-and-greet event featuring Carter Reynolds at Carrollwood Country Club (Tampa’s Premier Private Country Club). School officials say they opposed this off-campus event as well.
At some point after the meet-and-greet, an unidentified 14-year-old female student announced that she and the social media superstar had engaged in sex.
The gym teacher noted that the alleged sexual activity was not a criminal act against anyone.
“No charges were ever filed,” Reynolds told the CBS station. “I was never looked at in anyway criminally. Not one percent.”
On Tuesday, he got his back by the skin of a single school board vote in his favor. The vote for reinstatement was 4-3.
The termination hearing which resulted in no termination lasted two days.
“I have an appreciation for the board taking the facts of the case and basing their decision on the information that was presented before them and not basing it on feelings,” Reynolds told The Tampa Tribune. “The district report painted a very negative picture of what went on. But we presented our facts. I think it really opened up their eyes.”
The 14-year teaching veteran makes $49,300 per year. He will also receive six months of back pay — so about $24,600.