EVIDENCE EVALUATED

Eastside firing aide in sex case


Published: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 6, 2005 at 12:08 a.m.
The Eastside High School teaching aide accused of engaging in a sex act with a 15-year-old male student will be fired as of Jan. 18.
Lataya Shanik Coleman, 28, of Williston is accused of engaging in a sex act with the boy in a section of the library at Eastside in November.
Alachua County school district staff completed an investigation Monday and found that enough "evidence proves the allegations (against Coleman) to be true."
The district ruled that Coleman should be fired for violating district policy regarding sexual harassment and staff ethics. District Security Chief Bear Bryan interviewed 14 Eastside students. A custodian who reported that Coleman "flashed" her breasts to him last school year also was interviewed.
The Alachua County Sheriff's Office is conducting its own separate investigation into the case, following the Dec. 31 arrest of Coleman on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct.
Gilbert Schaffnit, the Gainesville lawyer who is representing Coleman, said his main concern is the criminal charge and had no comment on the firing.
Though just a formality, an official Alachua County School Board vote is required to fire a district employee.
Coleman had been placed on leave from the high school since allegations surfaced in November.
Coleman, who was arrested in Levy County, was transferred to the Alachua County jail Monday and released without having to post bail Tuesday.
Coleman had been working as a teacher's aide at Eastside to assist students with emotional and physical disabilities.
A sworn complaint filed last month listed the aide's name as Latoya Coleman, but school district records confirmed her name as Lataya Coleman.
Douane D. James can be reached at 374-5087 or jamesd@gvillesun.com.

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