Among other things, a Florida high school teacher is accused of delivering a Nazi salute to a German exchange student, calling a multiracial kid a “mutt,” and having pupils bribe him to raise their scores, according to a petition that is making the rounds online.
Todd Harvey, a Wharton High School teacher in Tampa who has had several complaints over the previous 25 years, is described in the Change.org petition as a “serial abuser” who is racist, homophobic, and sexist. The petition presently has 523 signatories.
“Todd Harvey is a serial abuser with more than 20 documented offenses toward minors in the classroom,” the petition reads. “He is a homophobic, racist, misogynistic, person who should not be a teacher at all.” It continues: “His immediate termination is demanded on behalf of parents and students.”
The petition also requests a “thorough inquiry” by law police and school administrators in light of Harvey’s history of grievances, which were initially made public in a Tampa Bay Times exposé. Since he began working at the school in 1997, at least 23 claimed allegations of misbehavior have been made, according to school district documents obtained by the news organization. Harvey apparently made racially “disparaging” statements once, leading to a five-day suspension without pay. He also got into controversy for letting students bribe him to raise their scores, according to the Times. At least twice, he was dismissed, but administrators finally allowed him to keep teaching. According to a pupil, his courses were “barbaric.”
The claimed allegations contain comments that are not acceptable for a woman. According to reports, Harvey dubbed one girl “slutty” and promised to marry another when she reached 21. Harvey now regrets calling the remark about being “slutty” a joke. He also advised pupils that women need to stay at home and not work, and that homosexual couples shouldn’t be permitted to wed in a church. Other females students with “thunder thighs” are alleged to have been picked out by Harvey, who reportedly told them they shouldn’t be wearing shorts. He allegedly made fun of Latino pupils for being “hairy and eating rice and beans” and referred to a German exchange student as “Germany” rather than by his own name.
A different German exchange student accused Harvey of giving the Nazi salute in front of the class. Harvey justified the behavior as a teaching tool for the Holocaust. And a principal once acknowledged that “everyone” knew Harvey had a pitcher on the school’s baseball team to purposefully hurl a ball towards the head of an opposition player, a claim Harvey vehemently disputed.
He was previously censured in February 2017 for “unprofessional behaviour” after enabling pupils to cheat on an exam and had administrators force their results to be thrown out. The Tampa Bay Times said that Melanie Copeland, who is multiracial, claimed that Harvey once asked her how to represent her race on government papers and continued by telling her to enter “mutt.” Not all complaints, however, were legally filed. Copeland was so unhappy that her mother had to completely remove her from the educational system.
The fact that Harvey allegedly tormented a transgender kid who later committed suicide is arguably the most damaging claim against him. Police assert that the student was unhappy following a discussion with Harvey earlier in the day. According to an unidentified buddy who spoke to the site, Harvey allegedly tortured the boy by telling him he seemed to be a psychopath and a school shooter. – Steve Sijenyi