A school investigation concluded the 50-year-old man threw a male student to the ground, then claimed the child hit him first.
The Palm Beach Post | by Andrew Marra | April 29, 2021
BOYNTON BEACH — A Boynton Beach elementary school teacher was fired last month after administrators say he threw a student to the ground who had cursed at him, then falsely claimed the child hit him first.
Jason Wasloff, a fourth-grade teacher at Forest Park Elementary in Boynton Beach, got into a physical altercation with a male student in February 2020 as they returned to their classroom from recess.
Wasloff, who was 50 at the time, told administrators the scuffle started when the boy cursed at him and hit him in the groin, prompting him to push the boy to the ground, according to a school district police report.
But hallway-camera footage showed the boy did not hit him initially. It was Wasloff, police concluded, who initiated physical contact.
After the boy cursed at him, camera footage showed Wasloff pushed him to the floor by his neck, placed his knee in the boy’s back and put his right arm in the air, according to the report.
The boy did hit Wasloff after he got up from the ground, police said. But a detective concluded that the incident started when Wasloff “threw the victim to the ground for name-calling.”
Confronted with video evidence contradicting his version of events, Wasloff admitted he hit the student first but told school administrators he hadn’t intentionally misstated what happened.
The incident happened quickly, he told authorities, and he hadn’t been able to receive the camera footage before giving his recollection of events.
“I take accountability for all of it,” he said during a disciplinary meeting. “I could have made other choices on how I could have handled the situation.”
But, he added, “I wasn’t lying like the detective made it to be.”
Wasloff, a school district employee since 2017, declined to comment.
School district police moved to charge him with making false official statements, but the State Attorney’s Office declined to file charges, saying that there was insufficient evidence that he intended to mislead investigators.
School board members voted March 3 to approve Wasloff’s termination.
Image: The School District of Palm Beach County offices on August 12, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post