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Elementary School Foreign Exchange Teacher Charged with Child Neglect

BROOKSVILLE – A Brooksville Elementary School teacher is behind bars today on charges of child neglect, but officials aren't releasing details of what led to her arrest.

According to the Hernando County Jail website, 38-year-old Latisha Yonique Greenland was arrested on Monday and charged with two counts of child neglect.

Sources say Greenland is a 5th-grade math and science teacher at Brooksville Elementary. However, it is believed that the charges against her are not related to her students but rather to her own children.

During a first appearance hearing on Tuesday, Judge Barbara-Jo Bell ordered Greenland not to have contact with anyone under the age of 18, including her children. A public defender asked Judge Bell, "Will the court allow her to have contact with children under the age of 18 for the purposes of work?" Judge Bell replied, "I will leave that up to Judge Toner [Stephen E. Toner] as he is going to be the presiding judge in this matter."

Greenland remains behind bars on a $10,000 bond.

R News reached out to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and the School District for comment, but we have not received a response from either office.

Greenland is part of a J1 visa foreign exchange program with TPG Cultural Exchange out of Greenville, South Carolina. The Hernando County School District currently employs around 66 foreign exchange teachers, many of whom come from Jamaica.

Last December, a Jamaican teacher at Winding Waters K-8 (WWK8) resigned after she allegedly battered a 6-year-old boy, which left a hand-shaped bruise on his arm. Surprisingly, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office declined to launch a criminal investigation into the incident, despite numerous pleas from the child's parents. The Sheriff's Office refused to comment on that case.

Instead of providing an explanation or apologizing to the parents for the trauma their child endured, WWK8 Principal Cari O'Rourke wrote a scathing letter about R News and disbursed it to all parents, defending the teacher and claiming our report was false. O'Rourke states, "To make such an allegation against multiple agencies, each sworn to protect the welfare of students, lacks both logic and evidence."

R News has received several complaints about TPG foreign exchange teachers, specifically those who are visiting from Jamaica, and parents are growing more concerned about the safety of their children. During our last investigation, we contacted TPG and asked if their teachers are provided orientation classes to help them adapt to our laws and cultures. The representative who did not provide their name stated, "We provide a very extensive pre-departure orientation that includes a review of U.S. laws. We also conduct pre-departure webinars over the course of 6 months prior to the teachers' arrival that span a wide variety of topics including state-specific regulations and federal regulations. We further provide post-arrival orientation, the district provides orientation, and we provide ongoing webinars to the teachers throughout the duration of their time in the United States."

TPG says if a teacher is arrested or violates policy, their visa will be revoked, and they will be sent back to their native country.

Other countries TPG provides teachers from are Costa Rica, Ghana, India, the Philippines, and Uganda.

CORRECTION: Our initial report reflected Greenland's charges of Child Abuse. That was incorrect. Greenland is charged with Child Neglect. We apologize for the error.

 

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