A Florida teacher has been criticized for questioning two female fifth-grade students about whether they were in a relationship during class, causing one of the two girls to withdraw from school, NBC affiliate WPTV reports.
"The rumor was that my daughter and another 5th-grade little girl were dating," said Jezenia Gambino, whose daughter attended Northport L-8 in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
She said the rumor reached her daughter's teacher, who asked them about it in front of their entire class.
"She asked them if they were together if they were dating as a couple together and she asked them in a way that they felt they were in trouble," said Gambino, adding that her daughter "wasn't sure if they should hang out together anymore because of what happened in school. She didn't want anyone to think they were gay."
Gambino contacted the school's principle, and a week later received an email stating the teacher had been reported to the Florida Department of Education for having inappropriate communication with her daughter and was given a verbal warning.
"What they did affected my daughter in a way that now I'm having to go back and fix," added Gambino, who said she is now homeschooling her daughter.
The district said in a statement, the "School Board will not tolerate sexual harassment or any other form of illegal harassment by any of its employees, students, volunteers or agents."
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