Florida Teacher Wants Job Back After Being Filmed Mowing Lawn in the Nude

A Florida man who was filmed mowing his lawn in the nude wants to be a teacher again, after retaining his certification following the incident.

Brian Wheeler's neighbor filmed him mowing the yard naked at his home in Port Orange on Florida's east coast in 2017, WESH 2 reported. The neighbor then showed police the footage.

A video of the incident shows the former Cypress Elementary educator pacing about his yard naked, using a red and black lawnmower on the grass.

At the time, police charged Wheeler with exposing his sexual organs and disorderly conduct. However, he was not convicted. The former charge was dropped, while the latter was dismissed as part of a deferred prosecution agreement.

Volusia County School District demoted Wheeler and stopped him from teaching. It also issued Wheeler a written reprimand. But Wheeler retained his teaching certification.

Elizabeth Albert, president of the Volusia United Educators union, told WESH 2 that ruling suggests "officials feel that he is still of the caliber that is able to work with our kids and teach."

However, the School District has not allowed Wheeler to return to the classroom.

Now, Wheeler has enlisted the help of the Volusia United Educators union in a bid to teach again. Wheeler argued in documents seen by WESH 2 News that the neighbor had a problem with him, unrelated to his disrobed garden maintenance.

Albert told WESH 2 Wheeler made a very poor decision. However, she pointed out Wheeler had taught children in the community "successfully" for two decades. Wheeler was a tenured educator with a clear record.

WESH 2 saw documents supporting Wheeler, including one stating: "I credit the bulk of my success as a writer of children's historical fiction to Brian Wheeler."

Another argued that children are taught that individuals are accountable for their actions, and Wheeler should be held to that standard.

A complaint linked to a Florida Department of Education investigation is due to be heard in October. However, Albert said a settlement with the state has been reached, and the hearing is a rubber-stamping exercise.

Wheeler is expected to be fined but keep his teaching certification. That means he can teach in other parts of Florida, but he has stated he wants to be employed in Volusia County.

A spokesperson for Volusia County Schools declined to comment on Wheeler's case to Newsweek.

In order to become a teacher in Florida, an individual must have a Bachelor's Degree and complete an education program approved by the state. That can include gaining a teaching certificate accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

According to the Florida Education Association, the state "has a serious and growing teacher shortage." In January 2019, there were more than 2,000 unfilled positions, hitting over 3,500 by August the union told the Orlando Sentinel.

This article has been updated with a response from Volusia County Schools.

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A stock image of a student raising her hand in class. A Florida teacher is hoping to be reinstated after being reprimanded for mowing his lawn naked. Getty