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Hernando County teacher reprimanded for dragging special-needs student across classroom

BROOKSVILLE — A teacher at Moton Elementary has been reprimanded by state educators, who found she dragged a special-needs student across the floor by her ponytail nearly two years ago.

According to the Florida Education Practices Commission, the state’s disciplinary authority for educators, Susan Caravella Moglia, a 58-year-old exceptional student education, or ESE, teacher at the school grabbed a 6-year-old girl with Down syndrome by the hair and pulled her about 5 feet across the floor on April 26, 2016.

"By your actions, you have lessened the reputation of all who practice our profession and have diminished your position as an educational leader," Fredric Mellin, presiding officer of the commission, wrote to Moglia in an official letter of reprimand. "The profession cannot condone your actions, nor can the public who employ us."

The letter was added to Moglia’s state certification file and sent to the Hernando County School Board.

The commission ordered three years of probation, which requires Moglia to contact the Department of Education should she be hired or fired for any position requiring a state education certificate.

Moglia also must provide the agency with contact information for her immediate supervisor, who will be required to provide the state with copies of the teacher’s annual performance evaluations. Moglia was charged more than $1,000 in fines and required to earn a B or higher in a college-level classroom management course.

In 2017, a lawsuit alleging "neglect and physical abuse" by Moglia was filed in Hernando County by the parents of another special-needs student at Moton. The boy, described as a "low-functioning, non-verbal autistic minor with little to no ability to communicate" became physically ill under Moglia’s care, according to the ongoing lawsuit also filed against the School Board.

District records show Moglia has been employed with the district since 1991. She became an ESE teacher in 1998 and continues to work at Moton.

Contact Megan Reeves at [email protected] Follow @mareevs.

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