A former Teacher of the Year at North Marion High School in Marion County, Florida, was suspended without pay after a student complained that he touched her inappropriately with a banana during a college-level lecture on "cylinder objects, phalluses and/or sex symbols."
The incident took place three months ago, but the student only came forward last week.
A discipline letter sent to Jonathan Hampton after a student complained that he "crossed a line" while discussing the "Freudian implications" of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest says he "used a banana to make physical contact with a student."
The student alleges that Hampton "rubbed [her] head and neck area with a banana," leaving her embarrassed and humiliated.
"That is disgusting, very disgusting," said the grandmother of a student at the school. "I don't think he should be allowed to teach kids. You don't do stuff like that and get away with it."
Hampton's lawyer (and stepfather) Mark Fiedelholtz says the entire thing was blown out of proportion, and that Hampton tapped a student with a banana from his lunch to get her attention, and that sometimes a banana is just a banana.
"There was nothing else to it," the attorney said.
After conducting its own investigation into the matter, the school district issued Hampton an official reprimand saying it was poor judgement on his part to use "a banana to make physical contact with a student."
The teacher has since completed the three-day suspension and was allowed to return to class.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to clarify that the Ocala Star Banner characterized the student's complaint about Hampton as an accusation that he "crossed the line." None of the outlets cited in this story reported that the reprimand letter included the phrase "crossed a line." The headline has also been updated.