Immokalee teacher accused of sending lewd photos previously reprimanded for shoving student | #teacher | #children | #kids

By Kyra Shportun & Erin O’Brien

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — The Collier County Public Schools teacher that was arrested Tuesday for showing students photos of his penis has been reprimanded by district officials in the past, records show.

A letter of reprimand from the Director of Human Resources at CCPS was sent to Travis Westberry, 30, on March 6, 2020, regarding an incident where he aggressively moved a student out of his classroom on Feb. 5. 2020.

Westberry was removed from his position at Immokalee High School and was temporarily assigned to work in the Administrative Center so a full investigation into the incident could be conducted, according to the letter.

An investigation found that Westberry moved a student backward, through the doorway on at least two occasions as they tried to enter his classroom, which is considered a violation of the expectations and standards required of CCPS employees.

The letter reads, in part: “Your misconduct, physically moving a student in an aggressive manner must not continue. You are expected to conduct yourself professionally in the workplace and to model positive behavior management strategies.”

The letter of reprimand was placed in Westberry’s personnel file, which ABC7 acquired on Thursday morning.

Previous reported incidents

According to Westberry’s personnel file, a student had expressed concern over their interactions with Westberry in his math class on Sept. 23, 2016. The student reported they were always seated at a table near Westberry’s desk and that he placed his hand on the student’s back.

Other students reported Westberry treated the student involved in the incident differently than others and he had belittled another student that claimed Westberry and the student involved were dating.

Westberry reportedly asked the student why “you would want to date a student with lips bigger than yours.”

Three days later, Westberry asked the student involved in the incident why their schedule was changed and said he missed the student and that they should have lunch in his classroom, according to his file. The following day, Westberry admitted to making the comment about the student’s lips and asking the student to “stop by class and say hi.”

He said the comments were made jokingly and he did not mean to disparage the student. Following a discussion with the assistant principal, Westberry was told not to interact with the student and to not disparage a student’s physical appearance.

On October 21, 2016, a student was seen by staff getting into Westberry’s personal car and then left campus with him. No further details on the incident were noted in his personnel file, but in a letter to Westberry from the principal, Westberry was advised of school board policy saying no staff member is permitted to transport students in a private vehicle.

Westberry was asked to write a reflection letter, which he submitted on Oct. 31, 2016. In the letter, he spoke about the “mistakes” he’s made as a teacher and said he’s “learned how heavy a teacher’s influence truly is in a student’s life.”

Westberry also reflected on relationships between teachers and students.

“While it is ok to be friendly towards students, I am fully aware that I cannot joke with students as I would my own friends. The classroom is no place for crude humor or jokes that may offend someone regardless of the situation or context.”

March 23, 2021 arrest

Westberry is a math teacher and boys varsity basketball coach at IHS. He was arrested on Tuesday and faces a felony charge related to inappropriate relationships he had with two high school girls, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

One of the girls said she began chatting with Westberry on a daily basis via text and through Instagram in September 2020.

In December, the victim said Westberry sent a picture of his penis to her, but claimed it was a “mistake” and was not meant for her. They continued to text daily, according to investigators.

The student said Westberry continued to send her photos of his penis, with the most recent being on Spring Break — about a week ago.

Another girl told deputies Westberry had put his hand on her thigh and started rubbing it during math class, according to court documents. She also accused Westberry of showing her photos of his penis and videos of himself masturbating on his phone.

A spokesperson for CCPS said that the district is aware of the allegations and has decided to terminate Westberry — effective immediately.

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