Florida Assistant Principal Arrested After Failing To Report Teacher Misconduct

The Assistant Principal of a Gainesville, Florida, middle school was arrested and charged with child neglect and tampering with evidence last Wednesday after a former teacher was arrested for misconduct with a student.

Ryan Michael Clemens, 41, was arrested after failing to report inappropriate behavior made by Athletic Director Christopher Chell at St. Patrick Interparish School.

Clemens received a report on Feb. 20 when a 12-year-old female student reported that Chell, 46, made inappropriate comments that made her uncomfortable.

During the closed-door meeting between the three, Clemens sided with Chell, ignoring the victim’s complaints.

The victim told a Gainesville Police Department (GPD) detective that Chell reportedly said that he could be her “secret boyfriend” and that she could not tell anyone about their relationship.

“[The victim] also said that if she didn’t say ‘I love you’ back to [Chell] he would get ‘upset’ or even ‘mad’ until she did say it,” the police report read.” [Chell] exhibited the same type of ‘upset’ response when [the victim] would not visit him in between classes or after class.”

It took Clemens days to report the incident to the Florida Department of Child and Families (DCF), making the incident sound minimal.

Another teacher and a group of students also filed complaints against Chell a few days later. GPD stated that Clemens failed to submit additional reports to DCF or law enforcement, failing to protect the students under his care.

Clemens also admitted that he threw written evidence away after Chell’s firing on Feb. 28.

According to a GPD detective, Clemens stated that Chell had a reputation at the school for favoring middle school girls.

“Looking back he did have a lot of favorites that were girls — always sixth, seventh, eighth-grade girls would visit him. During class, between classes,” he told the detective.

The school released the following statement following the arrests, according to Fox 35: “The diocese, along with its school officials, continues to cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation. To avoid interfering with the case, the diocese has no further comments at this time.”

Clemens has been employed at St. Patrick Interparish School for almost five years and was the previous Athletic Director before being promoted to assistant principal. Chell became the Athletic Director after Clemens’ promotion.

Clemens’ name has since been removed from the school’s faculty page.