One January day last year, a North Miami Beach science teacher allegedly used his school computer for some R-rated research. His sixth-grade students saw the results when he projected his screen onto the classroom whiteboard — presumably by accident.
Among the things that showed up on the board, according to the Florida Department of Education: “Why is gay anal sex pleasurable?” “Sex Q and A: What do women get out of anal sex?” and “Do women enjoy anal sex? Ask Mistress M.”
Richard Lawrence retired from John F. Kennedy Middle less than a week later, just days into the second semester of the 2015-16 school year.
Now the Florida Department of Education has permanently revoked his state educator's certificate and barred him from ever reapplying.
According to state records, Lawrence did not contest the discipline, which was decided upon by the Education Practices Commission. Officials found that he was guilty of personal conduct that "seriously reduces effectiveness" as a school board employee and that he failed to make reasonable efforts to protect students from "conditions harmful to learning."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
He could not be reached for comment.
Obviously, Lawrence messed up by displaying those searches — but his strict discipline does stand in contrast to other teachers who were allowed to continue teaching by the same commission this month.
One Miami-Dade County teacher accused of pushing a wheelchair-bound student into a wall "with enough force to cause damage to the wheelchair" will be allowed to keep teaching.
Brett Spence, a fifth-grade teacher at Coconut Palm K-8 Academy, agreed to a settlement that requires he get a letter of reprimand, take a classroom management course, and be placed on probation for two years.