A Florida school administrator has been demoted after text messages revealed she sought revenge on a student she believed had injured her son.
Wende Pendleton-Wicks, a dean at Noilan Middle School in Bradenton, texted with a 15-year old boy, asking him to hurt the student at her school whom she believed had broken her son’s arm.
Pendleton-Wicks’ 8-year-old son, who attends McNeal Elementary School, broke his arm on Dec. 14 while playing with boys in the bus lane at Nolan Middle School, according to the district’s investigation. Pendleton-Wicks told school investigators she rushed her son to the hospital and while at the hospital, she chatted via text message with a former student at Nolan who offered retaliation on the boy she believed was responsible for the injury.
Pendleton-Wicks told the student, a 15 year-old who was being home-schooled at the time, that another student had picked up and dropped her son, breaking his arm.
“Don’t you worry I’ll pick (redacted) up and drop him,” the student wrote to Pendleton-Wicks.
Her reply: “Please do.”
The student, who has since returned to Nolan Middle School, later contacted the boy who had hurt Pendleton-Wicks’ son, wanting to meet him at the playground to fight, according to the district’s investigation. Pendleton-Wicks and the student both told investigators she texted the student later asking him not to harm the other student, but she said she had deleted all the text messages off her iPhone and could not provide evidence for her change of heart.
“I guess he was just being protective of me is all I can think of,” Pendleton-Wicks said, when asked why a middle school boy texted her offering to attack another student on her behalf.
Pendleton-Wicks told investigators her response to the student’s offer was born out of emotion over her son’s injury and she regretted encouraging retaliation. She said the boy had gotten her phone number from his grandmother.
She tried to press charges against the student who she believed injured her son intentionally, but a deputy’s investigation concluded the injury was accidental. Pendleton-Wicks told investigators she still believes it was intentional, but she is dropping the matter.
As a result of her actions she was demoted to a floating substitute teacher in the school, and effective July 1 she will be placed as a regular classroom teacher, according to a Feb. 3 letter of reprimand from the district.
Pendleton-Wicks has previously worked as a math teacher at Lee Middle School and an assistant principal at Johnson Middle School. In October the district investigated her after she appeared to be intoxicated at school. A drug test turned up negative, and the investigation concluded she had a bad reaction from taking Sudafed while on a prescription medication.
Pendleton-Wicks’ personnel file was not immediately available from the district.