A Lakeland teacher who also works as a high school athletic director and city commissioner, lied to the school principal and refused to cooperate with law enforcement, according to a report about his alleged inappropriate behavior.
Justin Troller was put on paid leave from his job at Lakeland High School back in early December for suspected inappropriate contact with a student.
The sheriff’s office closed its case this week and the state attorney’s office decided not to charge him.
But investigators did determine the Lakeland commissioner was untruthful to multiple people and to his own bosses at the school about his contact with the particular student.
To make matters worse, he even conspired with a fellow teacher to help him get the student in trouble for something he did not do, according to the report.
The investigative files show the teen boy claims Troller started talking to him using the messaging app, Snapchat.
He claims one night after school, Troller sent him a message “how big are you?” and another message that was sexual in nature.
When confronted by the school principal, Troller denied sending the student the message.
Detectives later met with Troller and he denied it again, and then wouldn’t answer any more questions.
Detectives were not able to recover the messages because the app is designed to automatically delete messages soon after they are read. However, they were able to establish that the two communicated through the app during the night in question.
Shortly after the incident, according to the report, the student confronted Troller at school and — while recording on his cell phone — called him a liar and said you “had several opportunities to admit it, but you lied”.
Troller then told the principal that the student swore at him, and got another teacher to back-up the claim, even though the cell phone recording proves he did not.
Swearing at a teacher is an automatic three day suspension.
School Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd allowed Troller to return to work on February 17th at the District’s Bartow Airbase administrative offices.
A spokesperson for this issue said the district has not received the sheriff’s office report and has no comment.
Troller has worked as a teacher since 2003 and recently took the job as athletic director at Lakeland High School. He has been a city commissioner since 2008.
This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.