JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –Some teachers will just say the darndest things.
A Florida teacher who asked students about their sexuality, allegedly cursed at them, and told students she hates white people doesn’t understand why she’s serving a 15-day unpaid suspension.
“They’ve never even met with me and told me what I’ve done wrong,” Southside Middle School teacher Kelly Hendrix told Fox 30.
“I teach 165 kids this year. They pulled me out of the class because of one complaint. One complaint,” she said. “I love it. I love it. And now it’s over for me.”
School officials may not have met with Hendrix before imposing the suspension, but a report obtained by the news site reveals exactly why she’s on teacher time-out.
Students questioned as part of the district’s investigation told officials the teacher cursed at them, said she hates white people, and would use racially insensitive terms in class. Hendrix also reportedly asked students about their sexuality, used homophobic insults, and threatened to issue a failing grade if they reported her antics, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Hendrix allegedly asked a female student if she was gay, then fondly recalled a lesbian experience she encountered with another female teacher at the school. A male student also said Hendrix questioned him about his sexuality, and Hendrix told Fox 30 she did it for his own good.
“I called the boy outside and I said to the boy, I said, ‘What’s going on?’ and he said, ‘Kids are calling me gay,’ and I looked at him and said, ‘Well, are you gay?’” Hendrix said. “He said, ‘No,’ and I said, ‘Well, why does that bother you? – simply like that.”
“Another student interviewed as part of the investigation said that Hendrix called her father and told him she was a lesbian,” according to the Sentinel. “Hendrix said in an interview with WJAX that she believes the allegations against her are part of a payback scheme orchestrated by that student.”
The school investigation was also reviewed by police, who found Hendrix committed no crimes, Raw Story reports.
At least one student took to the Fox 30 site to defend Hendrix, whom she credits for “saving her life.”
The girl recalled how she was in a very emotionally troubled place when she was forced to attend Southside for a second round of 8th grade, and Hendrix took the time to understand what she was going through and encourage her to attend a local specialty arts high school.
“ … (A)bout half way through the year I had to go to Wolfson’s Children Mental Health Unit for being suicidal. When I came back she sat me down and talked to me, I cried and told her everything, after that we became very close. I would come to her classroom every day after school and just talk to her and Mr. David, they both became very important people in my life,” Katie Blanchard posted.
“Around February, I wanted to try out for Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, a high school I had been interested in since sixth grade. I was scared and insecure about auditioning for it, she gave me the courage to try, and I am now a freshman at D.A. in visual arts, next year I will be starting photography and can’t be more excited and happy in my life. …
“Mrs. Henxrix was there for me, she was real with me,” Blanchard wrote.