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5th grade teacher grilled a girl about a rumor that she’s gay in front of the entire class

An elementary school girl ashamed in class as other girls laugh at her, with a teacher in the background
Photo: Shutterstock

A fifth grade teacher in Florida was given a verbal warning after she grilled an 11-year-old who was the subject of lesbian rumors in front of the entire class.

Jezenia Gambino, the mother of the girl who attends Northport K-8 in Port St. Lucie, told WPTV that it started with a rumor that her daughter was dating her friend, another girl in the same grade.

Related: Utah school defends ‘outing’ student to parents, citing potential for bullying

Eventually the girl’s teacher heard the rumor and decided that it would be appropriate to ask Gambino’s daughter about it in front of the entire class.

“She asked them if they were together if they were dating as a couple together and she asked them in a way that they felt they were in trouble,” Gambino said.

Her daughter didn’t tell her what was going on until she got a text message from the other girl saying that they shouldn’t be friends anymore so that people wouldn’t think that they’re gay.

“She wasn’t sure if they should hang out together anymore because of what happened in school,” said Gambino. “She didn’t want anyone to think they were gay.”

That’s when Gambino contacted the school’s principal, who opened an investigation of the incident. A week later, she was told in an email that the teacher received a verbal warning for inappropriate communication with a student.

“School Board will not tolerate sexual harassment or any other form of illegal harassment by any of its employees, students, volunteers or agents,” the school district said in a statement.

But Gambino said that the school didn’t do enough to protect her daughter from bullying, so she pulled the girl from school and is now homeschooling her.

“What they did affected my daughter in a way that now I’m having to go back and fix,” she said.

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