Sandalwood teacher faces suspension over ‘unprofessional conduct’

Teacher reprimanded in 2019 over ‘transphobic, xenophobic and racist’ social media posts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Duval County School Board is set to vote Tuesday on whether to suspend a Sandalwood High School math teacher for a week without pay.

Thomas Caggiano, who previously came under scrutiny last year over public posts he made on Facebook, faces a five-day suspension over unspecified “unprofessional conduct,” according to a copy of the school board’s Dec. 1 agenda. The school district would not specify what that language means.

This isn’t the first time the veteran math teacher has come under the district’s microscope.

Caggiano came under fire in August 2019 after the Florida Times-Union published an investigation into his sharing of “transphobic, xenophobic and racist public social media posts” on a public Facebook page in the months after he refused to address a transgender student by her gender identity.

The school district’s Office of Equity and Inclusion/Professional Standards counseled Caggiano on LGBTQ inclusion after the incident with a transgender student, but no further disciplinary action was taken.

Following the Times-Union report about Caggiano’s social media posts, the district confirmed it would launch an inquiry into whether the posts warrant action under district policy or the “Principles of Professional Conduct for the Education Profession in Florida.”

The posts at the center of the inquiry have since been scrubbed from social media.

In part, the district’s social media policy says: “Any content or communication generated either by you, or by a student, which would be inappropriate in the classroom should also be considered inappropriate when shared via social media.”

Caggiano is not teaching math at Sandalwood this semester. A school district spokesperson said he was reassigned this summer to the district’s operations center in Northwest Jacksonville, a role away from students.

Caggiano could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

News4Jax has requested the investigative report and Caggiano’s personnel file from DCPS.

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