Teacher Isabel Diaz-Almaraz Fired For Allegedly Giving Students Alcohol, Condoms

A South Miami Senior High teacher, who allegedly provided alcohol and condoms to her underage students, was terminated by the Miami-Dade School Board school board Wednesday.

The allegations surrounding dance teacher Isabel Diaz-Almaraz's behavior began last July, when a parent came forward with concerns, according to WPLG Local 10. The teacher was suspended without pay in September 2012 after an investigation into accusations that she had paid for a $1,000 hotel room for prom-going students and had stopped by the suite.

At the time, the school board recommended Diaz-Almaraz be terminated for her actions, but the three-year South Miami teacher appealed the decision.

During the investigation, Diaz-Almaraz confessed to having purchased the suite with her PayPal account, explaining that she had reserved the room for the students, who later reimbursed her, the Miami-Herald reports. She also admitted that she had visited the hotel suite before prom and the day after. But she denied allegations that she gave students alcohol or condoms -- items that appeared in a gift basket that a student posted to Instagram and reportedly captioned, "Thank you Mrs. D!!!"

An administrative judge reviewed the school board's decision this summer and recommended that Diaz-Almaraz be reinstated following her suspension, according to a school board memorandum.

However, school board members did not heed the judge's recommendation, and instead affirmed the proposal of the superintendent to fire the teacher. In a unanimous decision, the board voted to officially terminate the dance instructor, who had taught at South Miami Senior High since 2009, for violating school policies.

"This is not a career-ending mistake," Diaz-Almaraz’s attorney Mark Herdman said before the board Wednesday. "And if you fire someone in Miami-Dade, it's a career-ending mistake."



Teacher-Student Sex Abuse Cases