TAMPA, FL: Todd Harvey, a Florida teacher, has been charged with harassing students, making racial slurs and making petty attacks. Several of the charges date back decades, but a former Hillsborough County Public Schools student has now come forward to discuss her interactions with Harvey.
Harvey was considered a “mercurial white man” in Hillsborough County Public Schools, where he has taught since the late 1990s. There are several complaints against Harvey, a social studies teacher at Wharton High School in Tampa , including reports that he called biracial student Melanie Copeland a “mutt” and gave a Nazi salute to a German student in the classroom. Copeland told the Tampa Bay Times about Harvey’s treatment of his family after reading an article about sexual harassment at the local Hillsborough County high school. The report published at least 23 allegations of wrongdoing against Harvey, ranging from rude remarks to students to explicitly racist gestures.
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“I thought I was the only one”
Harvey was allegedly curious about Copeland’s race on official documents and eventually told him to file “mutt”. Copeland said, “I thought I was the only one with a serious problem with Hillsborough County trying to sweep things under the rug,” as reported by the Tampa Bay Times. Little did she know that parents and teachers had criticized Harvey long before he was born.
Copeland, who later transferred to another high school, said she continues to hear complaints about Harvey’s behavior, according to DailyMail. She said, “Several students have contacted me regarding his behaviors/actions.”
Copeland added, “There have been numerous incidents since 2017 that are likely undocumented, of the school board illegally destroying files that must be retained for multiple years. For example, my file was destroyed when they had to keep it for a while. few more years.”
Who is Todd Harvey?
Harvey began working as an in-school suspension supervisor at Walker Middle School in August 1997. He came to Riverview High School the following year, where he continued to oversee in-school suspensions and coach the baseball. He moved to Wharton High School in August 2000 to accept a position as a social studies teacher.
Harvey has been accused of acting inappropriately during his career by parents and students, according to DailyMail. Sometime in 1999, a student accused Harvey of constantly degrading students and preventing them from concentrating because of the rowdiness. A parent complained about Harvey in December 1999, saying the teacher had humiliated children whose parents had separated and that his methods of discipline appeared to resemble harassment.
Charges against Todd Harvey
It took Wharton principal George Gaffney six years until September 2006 to discipline Harvey for allowing students to bribe him to boost their scores and for making inappropriate comments to them.
A parent informed Wharton’s new principal, Bradley Woods, in October 2008, two years after Harvey refused to reschedule a test so a student could celebrate a Jewish holiday. Harvey eventually relented, but the student failed and received a D grade for missing additional material covered on the exam.
In October 2014, a mother named Kathy Brothers expressed concern about a German exchange student she was hosting who was struggling in Harvey’s class. The student said Harvey bullied her and called her “Germany” instead of her name. Brothers had earlier said that Harvey gave the Nazi salute to another German exchange student.
Has Todd Harvey been held responsible?
Harvey’s treatment of the German exchange student came under district investigation in November 2014. This came after Brothers complained that he had made fun of the student in front of his classmates.
During the investigation, eight other students made a number of accusations against Harvey, including that he made fun of Latino students, called a transgender student an insult, insulted women, used inappropriate nicknames and threatened to break a metal bar. their offices if he fell asleep.
Harvey received a five-day suspension without pay in March 2015, following the conclusion of the investigation. He was warned that any further inappropriate encounters with students would likely result in his dismissal. Harvey would still teach social studies at Wharton, although his name is no longer displayed on the school’s website.
Tanya Arja, a district representative, said in a statement citing Harvey’s background that concerns are often handled at the school level, where issues may not be documented or brought to the attention of the district. Arja said: ‘The incidents involving Mr Harvey were investigated and he was disciplined in a progressive manner,’ according to DailyMail.