Education

2 Miami-Dade schools employees resign in one week over improper student relationships

Miami Palmetto Senior High School
Miami Palmetto Senior High School MARICE COHN BAND

Within a day of each other, two Miami-Dade public school employees resigned amid investigations into inappropriate relationships with students.

Alex Osuna, 34, a marine science teacher at Miami Palmetto Senior High, resigned on Wednesday, according to the school district. He also coached the girl’s lacrosse team at Palmetto. The young woman with whom Osuna was accused of having an inappropriate relationship is 18 and not a student at Palmetto High, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

A day earlier, Darryl Ward, 49, a security guard at Coral Reef Senior High and a part-time coach for the school’s football and track and field teams, also quit. He resigned while under investigation for having an improper relationship with a student, said Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade school district.

The student with whom Ward allegedly had a relationship is also a legal adult, according to the school district. WPLG 10 reported that the father of the student found his daughter in Ward’s car. Ward sped off, according to an anonymous student interviewed by the news station, but the student’s father punched Ward the next time he saw him, the student said.

FAC_Ward_Darryl
Darryl Ward, a former coach and security guard at Coral Reef Senior High. Coral Reef Senior High website

In both cases, Miami-Dade Schools police investigated the allegations and referred the cases to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, but no charges have been filed because neither of the students is a minor, the school district said.

Osuna had been a teacher in Miami-Dade for nine years, and Ward had worked for the district for four. Neither had been previously investigated for having an inappropriate relationship with a student, according to Gonzalez-Diego. Osuna could not be reached for comment. Reached by phone, Ward declined to comment.

Osuna
An administrative judge ruled charges against former Palmetto High teacher Alex Osuna alleging an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old student were dropped. The judge ruled that Osuna did not know the student was still enrolled in high school. Palmetto High website

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: This story has been updated to correct the ages of the school employees. A previous version of this story mistakenly reversed the ages, incorrectly stating that Osuna was 49 and Ward was 34.

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