BRADENTON - For the second time this year, Manatee County Schools stand accused of failing to act on a complaint that a school staff member had an inappropriate relationship with a student that began when the girl was 16.
Last July, a mother of a high school student called to report her suspicions that the Bayshore High school cafeteria manager had impregnated her daughter. But the investigation went nowhere until last month. And the cafeteria manager, Leverna Williams, stayed on the job at school until then. “I gave them the name. I called both schools, and I called administrators,” Lakeisha Ogletree says. “They didn't take any action and here we are today.”
School district documents show that former Manatee Schools investigator Debra Horne called the Shakura Ogletree last July. Shakura denied that Williams fathered her child, and Horne took it no further. “I entrusted my kids into their hands,” Lakeisha says. “And when a parent comes to you and complains, you should sit down and listen to the parent.”
Last month, a new investigator, Troy Pumphrey, looked again, and concluded that Williams had "engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with Shakura Ogletree, who was in tenth grade at Bayshore when it began. Williams was 40. "Williams actions violated Rule 6B-1.006(3)(a), F.A.C., which requires that the individual protect the student from conditions harmful to learning and/or to the student's mental and/or physical health and/or safety." Williams resigned less than a week after these findings, and married Shakura Ogletree.
“What can I say? That's my son-in-law,” Lakeisha Ogletree says. “What can I do? That's who my daughter chose to love, and all that I can do as a loving parent, is love him as well.”
She says her concern now about Williams is that he “he does right by my daughter and his baby.” The state attorney will decide whether to charge Williams with unlawful sex with a minor. Horne, the former investigator, lost her job during the Rod Rrazier investigation, in which female students reported that the assistant football coach at Manatee High School had touched them inappropriately. Horne faces a felony charge of failing to report child abuse in that case.