A former teacher at Plumosa School of the Arts has been barred from teaching in Florida after state officials said he engaged his fifth-grade students last year in a graphic conversation about different kinds of sexual intercourse.
Carlos Pena, a former Spanish teacher at Plumosa in Delray Beach, discussed with students anal and oral sex, masturbation, pornography and the meaning of the term “69,” state education officials alleged.
The discussion came while Pena, then 30, taught a “Human Growth and Development” course to fifth-grade boys at the elementary school in May 2017.
In a training session before teaching the class, Pena was instructed not to discuss his personal sexual experiences or his own opinions about sex, according to a state administrative complaint.
If students asked about sex, he was instructed to respond that “sex is the way that animals reproduce,” the complaint stated.
In an interview Wednesday, Pena said he regretted discussing sexual topics with students. But he said he addressed the topic because some of his students indicated they had learned incorrect information about sex from social media.
“It was never meant to hurt anyone,” Pena said. “I answered kids’ questions who trusted me to be honest with them.”
“They had a lot of mistaken impressions,” he added. “I wanted to make sure the kids who were there weren’t listening to lies and wouldn’t make those mistakes.”
State officials said Pena “discussed sexual topics in a manner inconsistent with training and engaged in inappropriate conduct.” His actions violated the state’s guidelines for educators’ professional conduct, they concluded.
Officials said Pena also embarrassed a student at one point during the 2016-17 school year by “pouring water on him in front of students.”
Last month, the state’s Education Practices Commission permanently revoked his teaching certificate, barring him from teaching again in Florida public schools.