On November 28, 2022, Brevard Public School Board Chair Matt Susin, did an unannounced press conference alongside Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey in front of the Brevard County Jail. The purpose of the video was to emphasize how “out of control” students at the public schools had gotten as far as discipline.
Matt Susin went on to claim that teachers were leaving in droves as a result of the disciplinary problems. He promised that the most “prolific” discipline policy was on its way now that he is the chair, negating the fact that he has been on the board for 6 years and developed and voted for the previous policy in questions…twice.
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Since then, over 4 months later, no real changes have occurred. Policies already in place like the cellphone policy were just re-emphasized and promised to be enforced. An emphasis was also placed on “zero tolerance” for students (even VPK) for physical attacks.
Also since highlighting how much of a problem discipline has been from students, according to a public records request from BPS, 17 of its own staff members have been arrested and booked into the very jail the press conference was held in front of.
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Most notably 2 weeks ago when 2 principals were arrested for DUI on the same weekend. 2 weeks before their DUI arrests, an elementary school counselor was arrested for DUI hit and run, and we’ve now learned that right before her arrest, an English teacher from Bayside High school was arrested for DUI after he was found unconscious in his vehicle in the road, slumped over his steering wheel with a blood alcohol level 3 times the legal limit.
According to reports, Robert E. Jackson was found by Melbourne Police sitting in the turning lane of Eau Gallie Blvd and Apollo Blvd, passed out. The vehicle was on and in drive. Police say he was slumped over the steering wheel, and after banging on the window and yelling for a while, he finally woke up.
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They state he was disoriented and kept touching random buttons inside the vehicle, and smelled strongly of alcohol. When asked, Robert stated he had 3 beers earlier. He failed the field sobriety tests, and subsequently blew a 0.234 on the breath test. The legal limit is 0.08.
Parents and students from Bayside High contacted us with complaints that Jackson is still teaching at school, but also still driving. It appears, according the the DMV website he has a business purposes only restriction currently on his license. Parents provided video of what appears to be him, driving in the same vehicle described in the arrest report, arriving at school this week. They state he has been giving students a hard time at school.
Also after the jail video, the newly elected School Board voted 3-2 to not fire a teacher that was caught on camera using drugs (not during work) and then subsequently refused to take a drug test as required by policy. A refusal to take a drug test is considered the same as a positive test, and is grounds for immediate termination. The “zero tolerance” board voted not to terminate the teacher with board members Katye Campbell and Jennifer Jenkins voting in the minority for termination.
Lastly, school board member Gene Trent’s investigation for failing to disclose his multiple arrests on his teacher employment application is still ongoing. According to the BPS Human Resources department last week, a second investigation into the matter was opened and is still pending. The investigation was opened prior to last year’s election which Mr. Trent won.
Normally, school board members who were also employees of BPS take a leave of absence during their time in elected office. However, according to BPS Human Resources, Mr. Trent actually resigned his position as an employee. Pending the outcome of the current investigation, since he has already resigned, he could not be terminated.