OCALA, Fla. (CBS12) — A Florida high school teacher faces a number of accusations of misconduct with students, including fist-bumping their breasts, touching their thighs and making inappropriate comments.
Ocala Police arrested 47-year-old Bernard Smith on four counts of offenses against students by an authority figure.
Smith is a criminal justice teacher at West Port High School and a former law enforcement officer.
In addition to touching students, Smith is accused of calling a student "baby," making inappropriate comments about a girl's breast, giving another student a long hug after speaking about her sex life, making inappropriate comments about a student turning 18 and sending a friend request to a student's social media account.
The investigation began in early January. Detectives gathered enough evidence to arrest him on Wednesday.
"This is an alarming reminder that even some people in positions of power and trust can be corruptible, and it serves as a strong motivator to remain vigilant and ensure that those with such authority are held accountable for their actions," police wrote on Facebook.
Ocala Police are asking anyone who witnessed the behavior to contact them.