Booker teacher back in the classroom

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Since the beginning of the school year, Doug O'Connell's class has been taught by a permanent sub.  That's because he was being investigated for inappropriate conduct with a student.  But, the District Attorney's Office's decision to not press charges has him back in the classroom.

"There was a police investigation and subsequently the State's Attorney's Office decided it had insufficient evidence to proceed.  So they decided not to take the case," said Scott Ferguson, the communication director for The Sarasota School District.   Ferguson says that investigation centered around a Booker High School Science Teacher. 

According to reports Doug O'Connell was placed on paid administrative leave back in April, after a female student accused him of inappropriately touching her.

"She alleged that he touched her on her rear," added Ferguson. 

But those allegations were unfounded. And O'Connell returned to his class Thursday.  A move that's being met with mix feelings.

"I'm happy he's back. He's a very nice teacher," said one student.

But another student disagreed.  "I don't think he should be back, even if he was found not guilty because if there is somebody accused of touching somebody that doesn't make you feel safe in the classroom and you're suppose be able to trust them," said Ryanne Rogers.

But O'Connell isn't off the hook, while there is no criminal case pending officials say there will be more consequences.

"Mr. O'Connell still did not observe our protocol.  He was alone with a student who he had grading papers.  He should not have put himself in that position and consequently the superintendent will recommend a 5 day unpaid suspension," said Ferguson. 

If the Sarasota School Broad approves the 5 day suspension it will be served in the coming weeks.