Student says he was suspended for porn work

7:25 AM, Jan 22, 2014   |    comments
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COCOA - An 18-year-old high school senior at the center of a dispute over his appearance on a gay pornography website will return to Cocoa High today.

A Brevard Schools decision banning him from classes catapulted Robert Marucci into the center of controversy last week; however, the district on Tuesday said the teen would be allowed to return to class.

"I'm just ready to return to school, like a normal day," he told FLORIDA TODAY on Tuesday.

Marucci told WKMG Local 6, a FLORIDA TODAY news partner, that he believes he was kicked out of class more than a week ago because of his job in gay pornography. The television station cited the school's referral slip as saying Marucci made threats against other students and said he was being bullied after classmates found the pornographic videos.

The district, however, said Marucci never complained of being bullied and denied Marucci was banished because of his job.

"We would never suspend a student for his job, or job-related activities," district spokeswoman Michelle Irwin said. "We had to conduct an investigation based on some credible information that we received ... When we have anything that's a safety and security issue, we keep a student home."

Irwin would not elaborate on specifics of why Marucci was sent home, citing the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act. Irwin said Cocoa High principal Dr. Stephanie Soliven called Marucci on Tuesday morning - after the holiday weekend - and they worked out a plan to get him back to class.

Marucci said the principal "apologized to me and said the threats were made up (by other students)." District officials confirmed the investigation had been cleared.

Irwin said the discussion between student and principal was held according to policy and procedure and was not the result of a flurry of furious Facebook comments and feedback the district has gotten after the story broke.

"It's easy to become emotional about a situation when it looks like a student is being targeted for his lifestyle choices. That is not the case here," Irwin said. "We will continue to work with the student and his family to make sure he graduates and moves on with his education."

Read the full story on Florida Today: http://on.flatoday.com/1dUgQbf.

(Copyright Gannett 2014)

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