OCALA, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) - Marion County school officials say science teacher Thomas Allison is one of the best science teachers around, having been nominated for multiple awards, and he was even a finalist as a 2016 Golden Apple Teacher of the Year for the county. But now he could soon be fired.
"His teaching ability is not what we are investigating. It is his abuse of his authority over these students and bullying them and placing the in a situation where they feel defenseless," explained Superintendent Heidi Maier.
Allison, a self-proclaimed animal rights activist, is accused of harassing and intimidating students in the Future Farmers of America program and ridiculing them for raising animals to take to a fair to ultimately be slaughtered.
Allison has worked at Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks for 10 years. According to the school district's investigator, Allison has called the Future Farmers of America students “murderers” for participating in the program, according to a School District letter documenting the case.
Maier wrote in her recommendation of termination that Allison, “has engaged in a repeated, egregious pattern of mistreating, ridiculing, insulting, intimidating, embarrassing, bullying and abusing FFA students, crushing their dreams and causing them to feel that they must discontinue FFA activities in order to enjoy a peaceful school environment.”
Allison is suspended without pay. The school board will decide whether to terminate Allison.