Teacher reassigned for inquiry into frog dissection bully claim

— The teacher accused of taunting a North Naples Middle School student who expressed concern about dissecting frogs has been reassigned temporarily.

“As the normal course of action, the teacher has been reassigned to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Administrative Center pending the outcome of the investigation,” district spokeswoman Leanne Zinser wrote in a statement to media outlets Thursday.

Results of the investigation will be forwarded to Superintendant Dennis Thompson, Zinser said.

Thursday’s news was partly welcomed by Carrie Wingo, whose daughter, 13-year-old Sarah Wingo, told reporters last week her science teacher sneaked up behind her with a bag of freeze-dried frogs and called her name.

However, Wingo said the district’s other actions Thursday were not as positive.

Wingo said her daughter arrived from school Thursday afternoon with a confidentiality agreement that North Naples Middle School Principal Margaret Jackson and two members of the District’s human resources department made her sign without a parent present.

“To give this to a child and make them feel like it’s a legal binding agreement is intimidation,” Wingo said. She said that Sarah did ask numerous times that her mother be called.

When reached for comment Thursday night, Superintendent Thompson said he had no comment and that the investigation was ongoing.

In an interview Friday, Sarah said she thought her teacher was amenable to letting her opt out of the live frog dissection in favor of a virtual one. The teacher had previously allowed the teen to do a virtual dissection of a worm.

“I don’t feel that animals should be used for testing or dissecting, when we have alternatives that can be used,” said Sarah, a vegetarian and a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The prank upset her, she said.

“It was a shock,” Sarah said on Friday. “She dropped them on my binder and she walked away laughing.”

PETA has sent a letter to Thompson asking that he “immediately investigate this matter, appropriately discipline the faculty and administrators involved, and end the use of animal dissection at NNMS in order to avoid any incidents in the future.”

Wingo said she hopes the district follows its own investigative protocol and disciplines the teacher according to regulations.

“It’s not about a frog and it’s not about being a vegetarian,” Wingo said. “It’s about how she (Sarah) was treated.”

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