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Hitting incident under review

School officials say no criminal charges will be filed, but the coach remains on leave until a district investigation clears him.

By ALEX LEARY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 15, 2003

HUDSON -- The Pasco County Sheriff's Office will not pursue charges against a Hudson High School weightlifting coach accused of hitting a student, school officials said Monday.

Tim Stratton, also a physical education teacher and assistant football coach, will remain on paid leave while the school district conducts its own review.

"We will conduct an investigation to determine if there was any inappropriate behavior on his part not expected of an educator," James Davis, director of the school district's employee relations, said on Monday.

Pasco schools are not in session this week for spring break. Stratton, 27, will be questioned after classes resume April 21, Davis said.

Stratton was suspended with pay April 7 after a male student accused the teacher of hitting him with a stick or paddle during a weightlifting session April 4.

The incident was reported to the school by the student's parent.

Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll would not discuss the incident.

"We're not even commenting if there is an investigation," Doll said Monday, citing state confidentiality law.

But school district administrator Terry Rhum said sheriff's Lt. Brian Moyer told him last week that an arrest would not be made and charges would not be pursued.

Moyer oversees safety and crisis planning for the school district.

Stratton could not be reached Monday.

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