PALM BAY, Fla. – A 41-year-old charter school teacher in Palm Bay was arrested late Monday on suspicion of inappropriately touching a student during a science class last week.
Kenneth Woodard, of Melbourne, who teaches fifth grade at Odyssey Preparatory Academy, was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation after Palm Bay police were alerted to the Nov. 20 classroom incident.
“Several kids did witness the incident,” Palm Bay police Lt. Mike Bandish said. “(Woodard) touched the kid in the classroom during first-period science class.”
Investigators said students watched uncomfortably as Woodard sat down with the boy to go over an assignment with him.
A police report obtained by News 6 on Tuesday said Woodard put his hand down the boy’s pants and tried to get the boy to touch him, too.
The report reads that one of the children said she could not believe Woodard would touch the boy in front of everyone else.
Woodard was already on administrative leave when he was arrested by Palm Bay police late Monday.
“He is an employee at Odyssey Preparatory Academy, which is a charter school,” said Jennifer Wolfinger, a spokeswoman for Brevard County Public Schools. “As soon as the administration became aware of the allegations, the school administration began an investigation and placed the teacher on administrative leave and contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families.”
Woodard has been with the school district for three years.
Police said the victim told a school counselor.
A judge assigned the teacher a $100,000 bond Tuesday during his first court appearance at the Brevard County Jail.
“I do find that you can be some danger to the community,” Judge Kelly Ingram said to Woodard.
“Tell your children if anything like this does happen, please tell a teacher (or) a parent right away, or a police officer so we can investigate it,” Bandish said.
Woodard’s next court date is scheduled for Dec. 14 at the courthouse in Viera.