General counsel for Manatee Schools to receive sensitivity training over alleged inappropriate comments

General Counsel on Administrative Leave

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - The general counsel for the Manatee County School District is back at work following an investigation into alleged inappropriate comments.

Mitchell Teitelbaum was placed on paid administrative leave on Friday, January 10 after Superintendent Cynthia Saunders received a phone call complaint that Teitelbaum had made inappropriate comments to a person outside of the school district. The comments were said to be “flirting,” “oversharing” and “comments on appearance.”

The school board attorney, Stephen Dye, investigated the complaint. As part of the investigation, Dye interviewed Teitelbaum, who was “shocked that his language was being complained about" because he “truly believed that he had a good rapport."

He submitted his completed report on Wednesday, January 15, concluding that the complaint “was from an outside agency and therefore not a violation of any law” and was “being presented by corporate managers who are concerned with their own liability.” Dye said he found “no evidence to support the complaints" and also noted there had been no in-house complaints by any district staff.

The following day, Teitelbaum was given a Memorandum of Conference that will be placed in his personnel file requiring him to undergo three courses on sensitivity training and to conduct himself in a professional manner. He was also allowed to return to work and will have no further contact with the person related to the complaint.

In a statement released by the district, Teitelbaum said, “I am deeply apologetic for any statements I have made that were deemed inappropriate. That was never my intent. This has been a lifetime learning experience for me and there will be no reoccurrence on my part. Moving forward, I will hold myself to the highest professional standards possible. I am grateful for the support of the School Board members and Superintendent and I will work fervently and faithfully to justify that support.”

Teitelbaum has been with the district since May 2014.

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