3 school staffers reassigned after incident with student

3 employees suspended, moved to different schools after altercation


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Three employees of a St. Johns County middle school have been reassigned after serving suspensions following a physical altercation with a student.

A video taken at Sebastian Middle School in September shows three male staffers getting physical with an eighth-grade boy, who was described as being disruptive and refusing to leave the cafeteria.

The three men, a physical education teacher, volleyball coach and dean of students, can be seen trying to restrain the boy and place him in a wheelchair to force him out of the cafeteria.

The superintendent wanted the staff members fired over the incident. But the St. Johns County School Board essentially overruled that decision, instead giving each of them a 15-day unpaid suspension, requiring that they take an anger management course and reassigning them to other schools.

School Board Chairman Patrick Canan said the PE teacher, Robert O'Shell, and volleyball coach, Jarrod Branco, each accepted the suspension, which they’ve now served.

The dean of students, Peter Sharman, initially contested the district’s decision, but lost. He’s still serving his suspension.

“The dean did not act appropriately,” Canan said. “He put his hands on the child, and he put himself in a situation, and it was unnecessary, and so we did find that he was in violation of our protocol.”

Superintendent Joseph Joyner initially wanted all three employees fired when the investigation began, but he signed off on the lesser punishment that was served.

“I think he decided at some point to meet with all three teachers and learned their side of story, and I think that’s why he decided it was appropriate to give something other than termination,” Canan said.

News4Jax attempted to contact the three staffers, but they have not responded to requests for comment.

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