South Florida Sun Sentinel | By Scott Travis | July 8, 2021
A former Broward teacher is no longer allowed to teach in Florida after a state investigation into allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior with at least two students.
Daniel Buck, 38, a former technology teacher at Western High in Davie, is accused of making comments such as, “Your legs are thick in all the right places” and “You know, I’ve always liked the idea of a taboo student-teacher relationship.”
Buck, a district teacher since 2013, resigned in 2018 during school district and police investigations. His educator’s license expired in December 2020, and the state Education Practices Commission decided last month to permanently ban him from renewing it or reapplying.
Buck couldn’t be reached for comment, despite multiple attempts by phone.
School district officials learned of the allegations in October 2017 after an 18-year-old former student told another Western High teacher about behavior that had happened the prior year when she was a senior. The case was turned over to Davie police.
The former student told police that at the beginning of the school year, “Buck appeared to be fun, laid-back, and funny,” and he “would make dirty jokes to get students to feel comfortable talking to him and sharing any issues they had,” according to a report.
The teen told police she felt insecure after a breakup and “felt that her legs were too big and her hair wasn’t perfect,” the report said. She said Buck started flirting with her and making sexually inappropriate comments, according to the police report.
She said the comments included, “Most guys like thick thighs, I do. They’re really attractive”; “You should wear those kinds of shorts more often, you have the ass for it”; and “I could kiss you right now. What if I did? Would you want me to?”
Davie police talked to another girl who reported that during the 2015-16 school year, when she was about 15, Buck made inappropriate comments to her such as “he liked women with small boobs and she was just his type,” the report said.
That student claimed the relationship escalated, with the two having sex in a closet in his classroom on a regular basis, according to reports. Buck denied these allegations, according to reports from Davie police and the State Attorney’s Office.
Buck said “he helped [the teen] who was going through some mental health issues and did a suicide intervention for her,” according to a 2018 report from the State Attorney’s Office.
Buck said the student “started to cut herself and he reported it. She eventually became toxic in class and attempted to get other students to gang up on him,” the report said.
Buck told authorities the girl was having issues at home and had become disgruntled.
While authorities concluded Buck made inappropriate comments, they decided there wasn’t enough evidence to prove he committed sexual abuse, and he wasn’t charged.
“This case is basically the word of the teacher versus the word of the student,” Assistant State Attorney Dennis Nicewander wrote on Nov. 30, 2018. “There is a significant delay in reporting the offense and no evidence to corroborate the allegations. The sexually inappropriate comments by the teacher and his other flirtatious activity tend to support the victim’s version of events, but this evidence is most likely not admissible in court.”
Still, the state Education Practices Commission, in its June report explaining why it was banning Buck from returning to the classroom, accused him of having “an inappropriate sexual relationship” with the student.
“At one point, the Respondent asked-if she would move in with him and his wife and if she’d have a baby for him and his wife,” the state report said.
Buck and his wife divorced in 2017 shortly after the investigation started. He was living in Tamarac at the time but has since moved to New Jersey, records show.