CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A Cape Coral High School teacher accused of having inappropriate contact with students has been fired.
The Lee County School District says he used the students for “personal gain.”
“When you cross that ethical line, you can never go back,” said former Lee County school board member Don Armstrong.
The Lee County School District says Douglas Dingerson crossed that line in 2009, and again this past August.
Dingerson, a teacher at Cape Coral High, was fired Tuesday for “having inappropriate contact with a student,” on both occasions.
The Lee County School Board voted five to zero to fire Dingerson at a special meeting on Tuesday. A termination letter from the district says Dingerson “exploited his relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.”
WINK News went to Armstrong, a former school board member, to find out what personal gain could mean.
“I know teachers have been offered money for changing test scores, or letting them cheat on tests. Maybe that student missed classes, and the teacher overlooked it by receiving gifts. Maybe that student’s parents work in the financial district where they could get their bank loans cheap. There are so many different things,” said Armstrong.
The former athletic director at Cape Coral High says she’s flabbergasted by the allegations. She says Dingerson worked in the life skills department, with kids with special needs.
Some former students are defending him.
“These allegations are just dumb and I don’t believe that one bit.”
“Mr. Dingerson is like a father figure to me,” said Fawn Barnes. “He believed in me, and made me graduate.”
WINK News reached out to Dingerson for comment, but we were unable to make contact with him.
WINK News asked the school district what the inappropriate contact in this case entails. A spokesperson told WINK, the district doesn’t comment on personnel matters.