Polk Co. Schools superintendent recommends Lakeland High School teacher be let go

- The Polk County Superintendent of Schools has suspended a faculty member at Lakeland High School and will recommend he be terminated at the school board's next meeting. 

Superintendent Jaqueline Byrd made the announcement Friday, saying Justin Troller, who is the school's athletic director and a teacher, would be suspended, with pay, beginning Monday, March 13, until the board's meeting on April 25, when she would recommend he be formally terminated. 

Troller, who also happens to be a Lakeland City Commissioner, was accused of sending an inappropriate Snapchat message to a student, asking about the student's genitals. That kicked off a monthslong investigation by the Lakeland Police Department and the Polk County Sheriff's Office, but there wasn't enough evidence to charge Troller with a crime. 

Troller later lied about his contact with the student, with the intent for the student to be disciplined, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office and the school board's Human Resources Office.  

In a statement, Superintendent Byrd said, "It is my opinion that Mr. Troller's actions constitute serious misconduct and establish just cause for his termination as a school board employee."

Troller can appeal his suspension through an administrative hearing before the school board makes a final decision on his employment. 

Troller was hired by Polk County Schools in 2002. He was suspended, with pay, in December, 2016, and then in February he was assigned to an administrative position at the School Board's Bartow Municipal Airport office complex.

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