Florida parent Shawn Hayston says he just wanted to tour the public middle school his son is expected to attend next year.
What followed, he says, was an act of retaliation that took him totally by surprise.
A threat to his job as a firefighter apparently was sparked because he had asked questions about school policies and expressed disapproval of a mural, he and other parents told The Epoch Times.
After touring Pine View Middle School with four other parents in August, Hayston was stunned to learn—two days later—that the tour triggered an investigation of him by his employer in a neighboring county.
Hayston, the father of two sons, said he was told that the principal of the Pasco County school had called Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and asked the department to do an investigation into his behavior.
He said he was told the school’s principal, Jennifer Warren, complained to fire officials that he had been hostile while touring the school, and that she had requested a formal investigation.
She told fire officials he had entered the school without authorization, and also said he’d been charged with trespassing by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, the firefighter said he was told.
None of that was true, Hayston said.
And after a two-week investigation by his employer, Hayston, who has been an active parent volunteer in area schools, was told there was no evidence to support Warren’s claims, he told The Epoch Times. He was cleared of all wrongdoing.
Still, he feels certain the accusations have tarnished his reputation and record of his 19 years of service in the department. He feels the debacle will make it unlikely for him to be promoted now, even though he has been honored for performing heroic acts while on duty.
He’s humiliated, he says, and angry–so angry that he plans to run for school board in 2024.
Warren and Pasco County Public Schools did not respond to requests for comment by The Epoch Times.