Teacher Scandals

Florida Principal Accused Of Stealing $900 From 9-Year-Old Special Needs Student

Edward John Abernathy is accused of pocketing $900 of over $2,000 from a wad of money brought to Connerton Elementary School by a special needs child.  

An elementary school principal from Florida is accused of stealing nearly one thousand dollars from a 9-year-old student with a mental disability.

Edward John Abernathy, 50, of Land O’Lakes, is accused of stealing $900 from the child, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Abernathy is the principal of Connerton Elementary School.

On October 23, the 9-year-old student brought $2,100 of his parents’ money to school. Once the teachers were made aware of the large sum of money that the student brought to school, they reportedly took it from the child, counted it, and then locked it up in Abernathy’s office.

When the student’s mother went to the school to retrieve the money, Abernathy allegedly only returned $1,200 of that $2,100. Detectives think Abernathy pocketed the difference.

"Subsequent investigation by deputies determined the principal kept the $900 difference," the Pasco County Sheriff's Office wrote in a press release, cited by WFTS in Tampa Bay.

Abernathy was booked into the Land O’Lakes Detention Center on a charge of grand theft. He is being placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf. It’s not clear if he’s out on bail.

“Getting the news … obviously we were shocked to hear about it,” Trevor Roppolo, a spokesman for Pasco County Schools, told The New York Post. “We’re disappointed and shocked. It’s quite the way to end the week.”

The principal has worked for the district since 1992, Roppolo said.

[Photo: Pasco County Sheriff's Office]

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