BRADENTON, Fla -- Former Assistant School Superintendent Bob Gagnon walked up to a press conference with his wife, two of his three kids and his lawyer and paraphrased the philosopher Friedrich Nietzche:
"They always say, 'What doesn't kill you makes you stronger', so I would put us as one of the strongest families around," he said.
His wife Melissa agrees it hasn't been easy.
"This has been torturous, this has been a year and a half of leaning on family and friends," she recounted.
Gagnon was one of three educators accused of mishandling allegations of child abuse involving former football coach Rod Frazier. Frazier pleaded no contest and is serving 3 years probation, including six months of house arrest. Gagnon was acquitted of criminal charges, then last week an Administrative law judge recommended he be re-instated to the district with back-pay and benefits.
Gagnon refused to talk about Rod Frazier or the allegations surrounding him. He called a press conference to talk about the future, specifically his. Gagnon maintains his innocence.
"Every time a kid is dropped at the door, I pretend as if it's my own child, and their safety is that paramount to me. So to be portrayed in a way like this is nothing short of criminal," he said, at times his voice quivering with emotion.
Moving forward, Gagnon's attorney--Richard Reinhart--wants the school board to re-instate him and reimburse his six figure salary. However he also wants two of the five board members to abstain.
"We filed motions to disqualify them," he said.
Reinhart says board members Karen Carpenter and Julie Aranibar have both spoken poorly of Gagnon and should not be allowed to vote on Gagnon's future.
"After the criminal case, the acquittal, Miss Aranibar made sure everyone knew the administrative case had a different level of proof. That's a pretty clear message to me she's already make up her mind," Reinhart said.
And if the board votes against reinstating Gagnon after he was cleared in two courts?
"If they rule against us on the motion, then there's avenues we can take legally but we'll have to address that, I hope it doesn't come to that because it could delay the process even further," he said.
The board has 90 days to decide whether or not to re-instate Gagnon. Their next board meeting is July 22nd. The agenda for that meeting comes out the week of July 7th.