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Gym Teacher Accused Of Taking Bribes

A middle school gym teacher let children sit out his class if they paid him $1 a day, collecting perhaps thousands of dollars, officials said Thursday.

Terence Braxton, 28, took the payoffs between September and December, resigning after the principal learned of the scheme from a parent, authorities said.

Braxton, of Atmore, Ala., turned himself in early Thursday at a Pensacola jail on bribery charges and was released on his own recognizance, Escambia County sheriff's Sgt. Mike Ward said.

The charges accuse Braxton of taking about $230 from six students, but Ward said the teacher's take from the 250 sixth- to eighth-grade boys and girls was probably much greater.

"It's not bad if you can make an extra $100 a day tax free," said Ronnie Arnold, spokesman for the Escambia County School District.

Arnold said Ward Middle School principal Nancy Gindl-Perry learned of the scheme from a parent and began her own investigation in December. She then contacted authorities and placed Braxton on administrative leave. Braxton resigned before the school board was scheduled to vote to fire him at a January meeting.

District officials have reported the allegations to the Florida Department of Education Professional Practices Commission, which could revoke Braxton's teaching certificate if he's found guilty of the charges.

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