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Bayshore Principal Suspended After Nighclub Incident

David Underhill faces a three-day suspension without pay, after an altercation at the Banana Factory that prompted an investigation by the school district.

A second Manatee County principal is in trouble.

David Underhill, who leads , faces a three-day suspension without pay following a district investigation into an altercation he had at a nightclub called Banana Factory.

Underhill faced misdemeannor battery charges and served a 90-day probation for the June 17 incident, according to the Bradenton Herald. The district launched its own investigation in July, after Underhill disclosed the incident to school officials.

Wednesday's announcement of the suspension comes 24 hours after Manatee school officials disclosed , following a separate and unrelated district investigation.

School officials said Tuesday that details of that investigation will be releaed on Aug. 24, after Smith has time to review the results. Her resignation is effective Oct. 31.

On Wednesday, school officials expressed confidence in Underhill and said he has not had any other disciplinary problems in his 12-year tenure as principal at Bayshore High.

Underhill's job is not at risk, according to Dr. Tim McGonegal, who issued a written statement.  “David Underhill has been a fine principal and we have complete trust in his ability to continue to lead Bayshore High School. However, he realizes he had a lapse in judgment, made a mistake and he has fully accepted responsibility and the consequences for his actions.”

According to media reports, Underhill grabbed a man by the throat at the Banana Factory. The victim told police that he was videotaping his nephew dancing at the Bradenton night club. Underhill, who was out with his wife and another couple, had thought the man was videotaping him. A security guard had to pull Underhill away from the victim and ask him to stop. Underhill voluntarily entered into a pre-trial intervention program.

In a written statement after the June 17 incident, Underhill said:

"I was involved in an incident, where in my opinion, someone was invading my wife’s and my privacy by videotaping us in a restaurant/bar. Two other people who were sitting with us ask the person to stop videoing, he did not. My wife walked over to him and asks him to stop, again he did not and he acted in a rude manner towards her. I walked over and asked him to stop and he was rude towards me. I did not touch him, I did not hit or push him or threaten him. I then self corrected and walked away.

"The incident is embarrassing to me and I regret it. I have taken full responsibility for my reaction to his rude behavior towards me and my wife. I have fully cooperated with MCSD and the school district.

"I have not been arrested.
 
"I entered into a PTI because as I expect my students to accept responsibility for poor decision and their actions. I am accepting mine."

Underhill signed a stipulation accepting the district’s disciplinary action and waived his right to an administrative hearing, according to the written statment.

“We must – and will – hold all of our administrators to a high level of professional conduct at all times,” McGonegal said.

School officials said they are timing the suspension to cause minimal disruption to school, as students return for the 2012-13 school year.

Linda Hersey August 16, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Do you think Principal Underhill's punishment is fair or too harsh? Was he out of line?
Amy August 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I think it was a little harsh ... He wasn't arrested, it's a misdemeanor, and he completed all that the courts required. If he was any other profession, this would be a non story.

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