Students rally to get popular SMA teacher rehired

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Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014 5:20 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A Sarasota Military Academy teacher is speaking out after cell phone video surfaces showing him yelling and pushing a student. Also speaking out is a large group of SMA students, saying they want their math teacher back.

Hundreds of passionate students have gone to great measures over the past 3 days to rally for their teacher, Captain Jeff Daughtry -- an Army vet, community service worker, and teacher at SMA for 3 years.

It all started with a Facebook page; in less than a week, the members have grown to over 800 and counting. Now t-shirts, car bumper stickers, and rubber bracelets have been ordered. Students are driving around with “Team Daughtry” and “Long live the Daughtry times” written on their cars.

"It's overwhelming, but it speaks to the character of this community. It reiterates my belief that these are great people," says Daughtry.

It all started with a cell phone video of Daughtry in which you can hear him yell and push a student into a chair. School officials fired Daughtry from his position on April 4th, three days after school administrators became aware of the video.

"I just wish there would have been more commentary. There would have been more questions. I wish I had more of an opportunity."

A witness in the classroom says the student being yelled at is known for being disruptive often -- this time cussing during class. "The student was being disruptive obviously, and it pushed Capt. Daughtry over the limit," says Jonathan Gow.

Students say Daughtry deserves a second chance, and that he did not hurt the student -- nor would he ever. “Capt. Daughtry was my favorite teacher; the nicest person I've ever met, the most emotional person I've ever met at what he does," says Alexander Holmes.

Daughtry shares his feelings about his conduct in the video. "It was a 2 minute loss of instruction; it was a teachable moment, not only for he, but for myself as well...I would never hurt anybody."

Captain Jeff Daughtry
Captain Jeff Daughtry

Earlier this month, the Sarasota Observer wrote a teacher spotlight piece on Daughtry's service work with veterans, alongside his students. "I was a member of the Wounded Warrior Project, and he would go take students to hospitals,” says Holmes.

ABC 7 spoke with the head of school, who declined to comment on camera but tells us they made the decision to terminate Daughtry based on the district's professional code of conduct. She emphasizes her high respect for Daughtry, praising him as an outstanding educator.

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Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • sierraelise96 posted at 7:00 pm on Mon, Apr 21, 2014.

    sierraelise96 Posts: 1

    I am a student at SMA, and I personally had CPT Daughtry as my ALG 1 teacher my Freshmen year, not to mention when I took the State EOC's he was also instructing the students on test day for me both my Sophomore and Junior year; by no means does this man deserve the punishment he has; I've said it a hundred times, and I will keep on preaching from afar to the Sarasota County School Board and adults alike- this man deserves to be at SMA more then anyone else- I am a terrible learner when it comes to math, I suffer from Short-Term Memory and I always seem to forget how to do the problems the way there instructed, but somehow CPT Daughtry spent those countless hours with me to make 110% sure I would pass his class- and guess what Sarasota? I did! I couldn't believe it- and to this day I can't thank him enough for what he's done for me and countless other students at SMA. The School Board is wrong- I'm disgusted at what both the Board and Sarasota Military Academy have done to this man who has done nothing but go out of his way to help others. If you take him out of the job you should take countless other teachers out of that school as well- they have done worst things more commonly then CPT Daughtry has ever done- so much for fairness- so much for second chances SMA! Lets start firing our teachers instead of taking care of the real problem at hand, the student(s) who caused this action to happen- now that is wrong all on it's own. Is this what society is turning to? If you ask me students need the discipline in their life there obviously lacking. The student body will not let what has happened stay this way- we all keep striving for one thing in life- one thing CPT Daughtry showed us to keep doing; and that's striving for our dreams no matter what society tells us or makes us think we can and cannot do. Lets become who we wish to be- and lets get our beloved teacher back SMA!!


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