Hanna: ‘It brought me to tears’ following district support amid DOE investigation

The LCS superintendent has received hundreds of letters backing him
Support grows for LCS superintendent during DOE investigation
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 9:22 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - At Tuesday night’s Leon County School Board meeting students and parents took to the lectern one by one in support of Superintendent Rocky Hanna, who is currently under investigation by the Florida Department of Education for his management of the district.

“It was important for me, given the circumstances, to tell my story, my way,” Hanna said in an interview Wednesday. “To let people know, no matter what others may say, that I have not broken any laws, or defied any laws.”

In early April, the Florida Department of Education sent a letter to Hanna’s home notifying him of “material allegations” and a letter sent from the local chapter of the Moms for Liberty group, requesting his removal over expressing his “personal views” in his management.

But now, 300 letters of support from the community, both typed and hand-written, sitting on a table in Hanna’s office. And several people spoke at the meeting to back the superintendent.

“He saw each of the school’s 2,000 students as individuals and he wanted the best experience for each one of them,” said one speaker.

Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. wrote that “probable cause” exists to justify sanctions against Hanna’s educator’s certificate. Hanna said Wednesday he has never broken any laws or “ever encouraged anyone else to defy any laws.”

“I’ve just tried to do things the right way,” Hanna said.

In the four-page complaint, the DOE letter points to an email that Hanna sent to teachers on August 8 at the beginning of the school year. At one point in the message, Hanna told educators “You do You” in response to the state’s “Parental Rights in Education Act,” a law requiring parents to be notified of sensitive material taught in the classroom.

“I think this has a chilling effect on other elected officials, on school board members, even teachers and school administrators,” Hanna said. “That’s sad.”

The state DOE complaint also said Hanna failed to protect students from “harmful learning conditions” and used “coercive means” to influence the professional judgment of colleagues, among other violations.

Before his punishment is decided, Hanna has until Friday to decide on a course of action. His options include a formal hearing, settlement or even surrender of his educator’s certificate.

From there, penalties include reprimand, suspension of his Florida educator’s license or permanent revocation of the license.

After this story first broke, WCTV reached out to Brandi Andrews with “Moms for Liberty” about the complaint letter. Andrews declined an on-camera interview but sent the following statement:

“My letter is one of many and provides facts that are well-documented public knowledge. There is one point that cannot be overlooked, and that is what the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) has said publicly about this investigation – this investigation dates back to incidents as early as 2021.”

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