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Former students accuse Lake City teacher of bullying, harassment

Former Columbia County High students spoke out at school board meeting Tuesday

News4Jax reporter Jim Piggott joins us from Lake city where he spoke to former students, parents and school officials about the teachers bullying accusations.

LAKE CITY, Fla. – The Columbia County School District is dealing with a bullying issue, but not the type of bullying you might expect. This case involves a teacher who is accused of bullying students.

The Columbia County School Board heard complaints Tuesday by former students from Columbia High School who said they were bullied by an unnamed teacher throughout high school, an experience that made their lives miserable.

Sarah Calzada, who graduated in 2018, was one of those who spoke to the School Board. She said that teacher's actions have had a long-lasting effect.

“It sticks with you psychologically and makes you question, you know, am I worth it to the people around me?” Calzada told the School Board.

Skyler Colley, who also graduated last year, said the teacher's words also had a big impact on his life.

“Constantly singling you out in front of everyone, making fun of you, pointing out stuff constantly yelling at you, harassing you down the hallways,” Colley said.

News4jax also talked to Shelbi Knowles, who graduated from Columbia High School nine years ago. She remembers the teacher to this day.

“She is not mean, she is cruel,” Knowles said. “If you were on her top list she was going to make your life miserable.”

Helen Colley, whose son spoke out at the School Board meeting, started a social media page where many others are now speaking out. She wants something to be done.

“I think she should be held accountable for her actions,” Helen Colley said

News4jax reached out to the teacher, but she declined comment.  News4jax has also asked for the teacher's personnel file and complaints and School District superintendent Lex Carswell issued a written statement in response:

"The Columbia County School District recognizes the complaints made by former students at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. We encourage all current students who feel that they have been bullied by anyone to go onto our website at columbiak12.com and complete the Stop Bullying form. All new reports by current students will be investigated."

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.