Embattled Osceola County school board member responds to investigation

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — There’s even more controversy surrounding an Osceola County school board member already facing potential removal from office.

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Jon Arguello has been accused of creating a “hostile work environment” and for threatening behavior.

One letter has already been sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis, and a second letter may be sent after Arguello is sanctioned again next week.

Three months ago, John Kalish filed a complaint, telling the school board that he was being harassed on social media and at school board meetings by Arguello.

Kalish said after a bus was donated to him by Osceola County schools last August, a complaint was made against by Arguello.

Two days later, he said an email was sent saying he could no longer be on school campuses.

Kalish was convicted in 2007 for illegally transporting multiple firearms including an AR-15, as well as check forgery and grand theft in the 1980s and 1990s. Since then, he said he has turned his life around and now gives back to charity, even recently receiving an award from the schools.

The investigation done by an outside attorney looked at the facts and interviews with other school board members and found “the evidence revealed that Mr. Arguello engaged in conduct designed to harass Mr. Kalish by, among other things, repeatedly referring to him as a ‘felon’ in public school board meetings and on social media, calling him as a ‘snake oil salesman’ in an email to the Superintendent, and insisting on what turned out to be two meritless investigations into Mr. Kalish and his organization.”

The attorney said it’s a violation of a school board policy that does not allow for harassment or discrimination.

On Friday, Arguello responded, saying that the investigation is incorrect.

He wrote, in part, “The fact remains, if questioning the motives and procedures that promote cronyism at the district, that reduce the safety of our students, and do not place the community first, makes me a target of disgraced lobbyists and corrupt politicians, then I gladly accept the abuse and harassment of these individuals.”

Read Arguello’s full response below:

DeSantis’ office has been sent the information on the first complaint because Arguello was sanctioned by the school board. He can decide whether or not to remove him, but no decision has yet been made.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.