Push for stronger punishment for Lee Co. teacher who kissed student

Posted at 11:02 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 23:02:44-05

There is a new push to get stronger discipline against a Lee County teacher who admitted to kissing a female student.

Jonathan Blikstad, a math teacher at East Lee County High School, admitted to kissing a girl on her neck and is still on the job.

Mariah Torres was a student in Blikstad's class. She said she was fixing her makeup when he asked her if she was trying to cover a blemish.

"I already felt embarrassed after that," Torres said. "He walked all the way to the front of the room, all the way around, pulled my hair to the side, and kissed me on my neck."

She said this happened in front of other students.

A Lee County Sheriff's Office report rules it as an assault, not a sex crime. Torres' parents initially declined to prosecute, saying they felt the school district would handle the situation.

"My principal looked at me and said 'This will be taken care of,'" Torres said.

Ten months later, Blikstad is still a teacher at East Lee County High School.

An affadavit obtained by Four in Your Corner shows Blikstad admitted to kissing Torres. "In my heart I knew I had offended her," Blikstad said. "I thought (wrongly) in my head that I will apologize and give her a kiss on the bottom of her neck." He went on to say "The kiss was more of an apology than anything else." Blikstad ended the affadavit by saying he recognized the seriousness of how this looks and asked for forgiveness.

The Lee County School District then sent Blikstad a letter reprimanding him for "conduct unbecoming of a district employee," then ordered a three-day suspension without pay.

Critics said that punishment isn't enough. A Change.Org petition is circulating with nearly 400 signatures and hundreds of comments from parents, faculty, and students like Brittany Athey.

"He's always been known for being inappropriate and rude," Athey said. "He's very negative toward gay marriage and will make comments about it in class. Which I shouldn't know about him. I should not know this as a student."

"I want him out," Torres said. "I want him out of the district, period. I don't want him as a teacher anymore at all."

Four in Your Corner visited Blikstad's home, and even though someone was inside, no one came to the door.

We also reached out to the Lee County School District for Blikstad's personnel file on Tuesday. On Wednesday when we asked for a comment, a spokesperson said our questions would be answered when we received the file. We'll update this story when we get it.