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Community supporting LCS Superintendent in response to FDOE allegations

Posted at 6:22 PM, May 15, 2023

Leon County Schools Superintendent Rocky Hanna has responded to the Florida Department of Education's allegations against him. With these allegations, Hanna could face penalties ranging from probation to suspension.

Even though this has been a difficult process for Hanna, he said the community's support is keeping him optimistic with his decision going forward.

The Florida Department of Education Commissioner Manny Diaz told Superintendent Rocky Hanna in a letter that there was probable cause to justify sanctions against his state educator certificate due to a history of defying the law.

Some of those allegations include claims that Hanna tried to use his position to politically influence others under his authority, the districts mask mandate which went against the governors executive orders in 2021and emails suggesting that staff ignored state curriculum standards.

Hanna was given four options to appeal the allegations against him. A formal hearing, denying some or all allegations and having a fill administrative hearing; an informal hearing, not disputing allegations but telling a panel why a lenient or no penalty is appropriate; a settlement, neither admitting or denying the allegations but will accept conditions to resolve the case; or surrender his certificate, that cannot be reinstated or reapplied for a new one.

However, in a Facebook post on Sunday, Hanna said he is not choosing any of his options. Instead he's asked FDOE Commissioner Diaz what option he thinks would resolve the matter.

The post read:

I remain optimistic that the commissioner and the decision makers in the Department of Education will realize I have not done the things they have accused me of. I absolutely have no 'history of defying the law' nor have I ever suggested to anyone to violate the law or not teach the Florida Standards as established by the Board of Education.

Hanna also said that the community's support has given him a renewed sense of strength throughout this process.

Melinda Stanwood is one of those community members standing behind Hanna. She was apart of giving over 300 letters of encouragement and support to Hanna at the last school board meeting.

"We wanted to speak out, show our support and say we stand behind you and we believe that democracy works and we want to be here for that," said Stanwood.

Although Stanwood believes the process has been unfair to Hanna, she's hoping the board will make the right decision going forward.

"We're hoping for the best and we're hoping that the people in authority will be able to act in fairness and good faith," said Stanwood.

We reached out to Commissioner Diaz for his response back to Hanna and when the board's decision will be made but have not yet heard back.

Stanwood said until a decision is made, they'll continue to show up to school board meetings to support Hanna.