NewsLocal News


Teacher at Island Coast High School accused of having relationship with student

Denise Ayers had her teaching license revoked
Posted at 8:02 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 20:14:24-05

CAPE CORAL — A teacher is out of the classroom in Cape Coral, and her teaching license has been suspended.

Fox 4 learned math teacher Denise Ayers resigned after she was accused of having a romantic relationship with a student. It allegedly started like a lot of relationships do: over social media.

The Florida Department of Education said in its administrative complaint she started talking with a boy at Island Coast High School during the 2017 - 2018 school year, and the relationship eventually became physical.

This month, the FDOE officially banned her from working in the State of Florida for at least the next 10 years.

In the complaint, it shows the messages Ayers was allegedly sending the boy.

One reads "Because of you I laugh a little harder, cry a little less and smile a lot more.”

Another said "We're kind of a big deal... it's ok people are jealous.”

The complaint also said Ayers kissed and cuddled the boy, as well as touching him on his penis over his clothing.

But after reaching out to several school board members, we learned at least one of them just found out about the incident.

"I did not receive any of this information through the district at all. This is a common practice. We find out things through, sometimes I call it gossip... through constituents, through outside sources. We find out information that we should have received from the district," said Board Member Melissa Giovannelli.

Giovannelli said she’s concerned that this wasn’t addressed in a board meeting.

The School District responded, saying "We were notified of the alleged relationship on June 18, 2018 and immediately reported it to the Lee County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Education. Denise Ayers resigned two days later.”

When we asked why it took so long to revoke Ayers’ license, the District responded saying "When the Lee County Sheriff's Office investigates a case, as they did in this instance, we suspend our internal investigation until theirs is complete.”

Giovannelli said for her part, she plans to call for a review of district policies.

“We need to look at our policies, social media policies and communication policies with students," said Giovannelli.

Even though the School District said it did report the incident to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, we weren’t able to find any charges filed against Ayers in relation to the incident.