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Palm Bay: Kenny Johnson Back In The News. Sort of.

Palm Bay Deputy City Mayor Kenny Johnson is back in the news for the wrong reason.

Florida’s Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran in a sternly-worded letter chastised the Brevard County School District for failing to report since-expunged allegations against Palm Bay Deputy Mayor Kenneth “Kenny” Johnson Jr. dating from 2015.

On April 24, 2015, Johnson, then an assistant football coach at Bayside High School, was removed from his position for having allegedly “sent a text message to a minor student that contained a grossly inappropriate picture,” Corcoran wrote in the Aug. 20 letter to Superintendent Mark Mullins, obtained Friday by FLORIDA TODAY.

“At that time, Brevard County Schools failed to report allegations of an educator’s predatory behavior to the Department of Education’s Office of Professional Practices Services as required by law,” the letter said.

While the police later cleared that case after the “victim” decided to not press charges, the fact of the matter is that failing to report the incident to the State as required leads to two interesting questions:

1) Was Johnson given preferential treatment in the case not being reported?
2) If not, and Johnson’s case was not reported due to oversight of some sort, how many other cases of this type have the Brevard County Schools not reported?

The failure to report meant the State Department of Education could not conduct its own investigation:

School districts are required to report any “legally sufficient complaints” to the Department within 30 days of the district becoming aware of them. That rule was modified in October 2019, requiring districts to report within 24 hours certain felony and misdemeanor offenses that result in arrest.

Corocoran wrote that he only became aware of the case in March 2020, nearly five years after Johnson’s arrest, adding that “this extended delay extremely hampered the Department’s investigative efforts.”

Does the failure of the Brevard County School system to follow the law and report such incidents reflect on Johnson?

Probably not. However, whomever was aware and charged with reporting of these types of cases should be in extremely hot water right now.

Reached for comment Friday, Johnson said he had only learned of the letter after being contacted by reporters.

“Personally, I only focus on … what is within my control, and this is not within my control,” Johnson said. “What I can control, and what I have been controlling, is being a positive inspiration for our youth and next generation, and I can continue doing that within or without the schools.”

Johnson said he did not know why the incident or his arrest were not reported to the state, but declined to answer further questions.

We would have thought that sending a picture of your genitalia to someone was something under his control, but that is just us.

Johnson’s answers, or lack of answers, is part of a troubling trend with him. When asked about the “exchange to nowhere,” Johnson said he wasn’t on the Council during the time when the exchange was being completed. Yet Johnson voted on direction and communications to the County when more issues with the interlocal agreement, construction, maintenance and long term care and widening of roads. Johnson said he couldn’t control anything that had happened which is somewhat frightening as he was actively voting on the issues.

We are willing to say that Johnson did not control whether the issue with him sending pictures of his genitalia was reported to the State, but we are not willing to agree with Johnson that he had nothing to do with the incident – or with any incident that goes off the rails.

According to him, it is never his fault.


Here’s a copy of the letter to Brevard County Superintendent Mullins from Richard Corcoran, Florida’s Education Commissioner:





3 Responses to “Palm Bay: Kenny Johnson Back In The News. Sort of.”

  1. Truthful says:

    Being an inspiration to our youth includes acting according to guidelines, which also means taking responsibility for one’s actions. Sending a picture of one’s genitalia is definitely way over the line. From Mr, Johnson’s quote below, one can conclude that he has not yet learned the lesson of what is within his control.

    “Personally, I only focus on … what is within my control, and this is not within my control,” Johnson said.

  2. Carla says:

    1. Maybe Kenny Johnson meant, when asked for comment on Friday, since one can’t control the past, there is no point in dwelling on it. Maybe he meant he couldn’t control what the Commissioner of Education or the Brevard County Schools do. I’m not defending the sending of pictures of genitalia, just saying that you can’t change what has already happened.

    2. When Damian Wilson, a teacher at Heritage High School, used his cell phone to show pictures to his students, he showed a picture of male genitalia. Instead of being arrested or fired, he was disciplined and moved to another school. Was this incident reported to the Commissioner of Education? If not, should Mark Mullins report it now? And why was Wilson allowed to continue teaching?

    3. How did Richard Corcoran learn of the allegations against Kenny Johnson in March 2020? Why did Mr. Corcoran wait five months from learning of the allegations to write the letter to Mark Mullins?

    • AAfterwit says:

      Carla,

      Thanks for the comment.

      1) Johnson has never satisfactorily addressed the issue of him sending the image to the girl. When he was running, his campaign issued a statement saying the incident had occurred, but out of concern for the girl, they would not comment on it.

      Johnson ran on a platform that included his deeply held Christian beliefs. We don’t think sending pictures of genitalia is a “What Would Jesus Do?” moment but one thing is for certain, Christians are supposed to look back and acknowledge past sins and actions. One may not be able to change the past, but as an adult, one can acknowledge the mistakes and sins in the past.

      As we said, this is a pattern from Johnson. It is a lack of accountability and lack of any type of “mea culpa” that is disturbing to us.

      (And before you even go there, Bailey, Anderson and Capote, all of whom were named in the FBI / FDLE investigation should have addressed the accusations facing them as well. You can never fix corruption if the corrupt people don’t admit to their actions.)

      2) It is our understanding that Wilson’s display of the image was unintentional. (At least that is what was argued.) We don’t know if the incident was reported to the Commissioner of Education. If it was not, it should have been.

      3) It is our understanding that it was discovered during a review of cases. Someone noticed that the case had not been properly reported and hence the letter.

      Thanks for the comment.

      A. Afterwit.

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