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Ocala criminal justice teacher, coach arrested for ‘fist-bumping’ girls’ breasts, other conduct

OCALA, Fla. — A high school criminal justice teacher and coach has been arrested after he allegedly abused some of the students.

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Bernard Smith, 47, taught at West Port High School where several students came forward reporting what they believed to be inappropriate touching including fist-bumping students’ breasts and smacking another student on her bottom, and contacted the school resource officer.

Another student said he sent her a request to follow her on Instagram, even though she hadn’t shared her social media name with him.

READ: Ocala basketball coach accused of having sex with 2 additional minors

“He was hired as a teacher and currently was the criminal justice teacher, so he was actually teaching students the consequences of breaking the law and what the laws are,” said Kevin Christian with Marion County Public Schools. “It’s kind of ironic that, in fact, he was arrested for breaking the law.”

Smith also coached the boys basketball team, and is a former law enforcement officer who worked for a handful of corrections agencies and police departments.

He was dismissed from the Ocala Police Department for violating moral character standards in 2008.

Read: Ocala basketball coach accused of filming himself having sex with minor

Smith is also accused of telling one student on the boys basketball team he couldn’t wait for him to turn 18.

Smith had been with the district for about two-and-a-half years, all at West Port High School. He has been suspended with pay. He has since bonded out of jail.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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