Gig Harbor teacher accused of bullying put on leave

Gig Harbor teacher accused of bullying put on leave
SEATTLE -- A Gig Harbor middle school teacher accused of bullying a 13-year-old student while cameras were rolling has been put on administrative leave.

After receiving several angry and threatening messages, the Peninsula School District reversed its initial decision and will now keep teacher John Rosi out of the classroom, at least temporarily.

Cell phone video shows students hauling around a middle school student, stuffing a sock in his moth, putting a pillow over his face and holding him down. The alleged bullying is mostly perpetrated by fellow students, but Rosi does appear to take part, too.

After the district got a hold of the videos, Rosi was suspended for 10 days. But after that decision was made, the 13-year-old's mother said her boy faced even more bullying.

"He just said he wanted to kill himself and the kids had blamed him for this popular teacher and the suspension that he received," Karla Kinney said.

Kinney was shocked by the video and wanted Rosi removed.

"I think that somebody that could allow this to happen and participate has no business being in a classroom," she said.

Following his suspension, the plan was for Rosi to be moved to another school, but many parents were outraged by the move.

"I was shocked that they just moved him from one school to another," said parent Kirsten Gallacher. "That's not right."

Parent Vita Gray expressed similar feelings.

"I just moved to the area, so I was a little horrified to hear that because I moved to Gig Harbor because the schools are really good," she said.

After listening to local parents, the district reversed its course Thursday night and placed Rosi on paid administrative leave.

The Pierce County sheriff's office is now sifting through angry -- and sometimes threatening -- voice and email messages left at the school.

"I think the district is looking to us to make sure that we can protect them if need be and ensure their safety," said Sgt. Mike Blair says.

The sheriff's office is also investigating the bullying incident for possible criminal charges. The district plans to keep Rosi on leave at least until that investigation is finished.