Lee Co. teacher suspended for gender identity comments

Posted at 7:14 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 19:14:43-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A Lee County JROTC instructor will remain suspended without pay, Tuesday, after an investigation revealed he imposed his beliefs about gender identity on students.

Angel Villanueva, JROTC instructor at East Lee County High School, requested a ruling from the Division of Administrative Hearings at Tuesday's school board meeting, who will then decide whether he deserves to be fired. 

According to a petition for termination, Villanueva, "made comments in the presence of students regarding the sexual preference of individuals and professed that those that do not agree with him are wrong and would regret their lifestyle and suffer consequences later on in life."

The JROTC instructor admitted that he may have gone too far. "Maybe I overstepped my boundaries, because some parents allow kids to take certain decisions that you wonder what's going on," he said. "As a father myself, I was very disturbed by one decision one kid wanted to make. My intention was to try to think it over and maybe persuade them to do what they wanted to do."

Villanueva did not give specifics about the situation. Some at Tuesday's school board meeting were angered by the comments. "This school district has to treat everybody equally, which means they're not going to give one point of view more than another," said a concerned citizen. "That's why we have a civil government separate from church."

Others, however, believe Villanueva was within his freedom of speech. "Political correctness is going wild and crazy in this county," said Michael Dreikorn. "We need to make sure that we still have the ability to talk about God in our classroom."

It's still unknown when Villanueva's next hearing will be.