Oviedo High School teacher suspended over inappropriate relationship with student
Teacher resigns as baseball coach, suspended without pay
OVIEDO, Fla. – An Oviedo High School teacher and baseball coach has been suspended without pay for allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a female student.
Former Oviedo Baseball Coach Harold Hitt plans to fight the unpaid suspension and said his exchanges with a female student were not romantic.
"First and foremost, I deny all charges that I sought a romantic relationship with a student," Hitt told the Seminole County School Board Tuesday evening.
Hitt exchanged 124 private Facebook messages with an 18-year-old female student over the course of a year. The district said many of those messages crossed the line including, "I still love ya, my little bae, hugs needed," and smiley faces on the end of the messages with hearts for eyes, and blowing kisses.
Suzanne Tzuanos, Hitt's lawyer, said, "There's no proof of a prohibited personal relationship and there's no romantic intent on his behalf."
However, the district believes the appearance of a romantic relationship is enough to cost him his job.
Two female students defended Hitt's use of slang in front of the board, saying he speaks to them "at our high school level."
"My communications with her are my attempts at talking on her level," said Hitt.
"If anything, at the end of the day, Coach Hitt probably is guilty of being tragically unhip," said Tzuanos, who also claims the investigation at the school was flawed. "I think that he views this entire situation as regretful. It's a terrible way to end a 20-year career."
The board will vote in August on whether to fire him.
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