Education

Palmetto High teacher resigns amid investigation into ‘improper relationship’

Former Palmetto High teacher Alex Osuna.
Former Palmetto High teacher Alex Osuna.

A teacher at Miami Palmetto Senior High resigned Wednesday amid allegations of an “improper relationship” with a student, the Miami-Dade school district said.

Alex Osuna, 34, taught marine science and coached the girl’s lacrosse team at Palmetto High up until about a month ago, when the allegations surfaced and the school district launched an investigation, said John Schuster, a school district spokesman. Osuna was reassigned to another location, away from students, while the district conducted its investigation, Schuster said.

The young woman with whom Osuna allegedly had an inappropriate relationship is 18 and not a student at Palmetto High, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

Prior to his reassignment, Osuna had worked for Miami-Dade for about nine years without incident, Schuster said. Osuna submitted a letter of resignation on Wednesday and was terminated, which concluded the district’s investigation. Miami-Dade Schools Police referred the case to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, but criminal charges will not be filed because the student is not a minor, the district said. Osuna could not be reached for comment.

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Miami Palmetto Senior High. MARICE COHN BAND MIAMI HERALD FILE, 2009

Osuna is still listed as a teacher on Palmetto High’s website. In his profile picture, he is smiling as he stands next to a cheetah. On Rate My Teachers, students gave Osuna 4.6 out of 5 stars and described him as an “amazing” teacher who is funny and “laid back.”

Osuna is not the first Palmetto High teacher to be accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student. Last year, an English teacher at the school was arrested on charges related to an alleged relationship with an underage student. Court records show the criminal case is ongoing.

Another Palmetto teacher, a former music teacher at the school, was arrested in 2015 for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student. The student told police she had sex with the teacher behind locked doors in the school’s music room on two occasions. The charges were dropped a month after they became public because the student and her parents refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to a closeout memo from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story mistakenly stated that Osuna was 49. He is 34.

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