A Florida mother said she’ll be homeschooling her young daughter for the remainder of the year after the girl’s teacher demanded to know whether the fifth-grader was in a “dating” relationship with her female friend.
Jezenia Gambino said her 11-year-old was left upset after a rumor that she was dating her friend reached the teacher, who confronted the students in front of their entire class at Northport K-8 in Port St. Lucie, NBC affiliate WPTV reported.
“She took matters into her own hands,” Gambino told the outlet. “She asked them if they were together, if they were dating as a couple together, and she asked them in a way that they felt that they were in trouble.”
Gambino said she was unaware the incident had occurred until her daughter received a text from the other girl involved questioning whether they should remain friends.
“She wasn’t sure if they should hang out together anymore because of what happened in school,” Gambino told WPTV.
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After the concerned mom reached out to the school’s principal, an investigation was reportedly opened into the teacher’s actions.
The investigation found that the teacher did engage “in inappropriate communication” with the students, and she was reported to the Florida Department of Education, the school told Gambino in an email that was later confirmed by WPTV.
Despite claiming in its policy that the school district will not tolerate any form of harassment, the teacher was reportedly disciplined with a verbal warning.
“What they did affected my daughter in a way that now I’m having to go back and fix,” Gambino told WPTV.
The St. Lucie County School District did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.