Atlantic Community High School principal reprimanded for confronting former employee

Tara Dellegrotti Ocampo accused of berating woman about issues at former school


DELRAY BEACH, Fla. – The principal of a Delray Beach high school that was the scene of a botched fire-breathing performance Thursday had recently been reprimanded by the School District of Palm Beach County.

A letter from the district to Atlantic Community High School Principal Tara Dellegrotti Ocampo, sent Feb. 3, claimed that Dellegrotti Ocampo sneaked into her former school's administration hallway through the back bus loop to confront an employee.

According to the letter, Dellegrotti Ocampo was the former principal at Everglades Elementary School, where her child is currently a student.

School district officials said Dellegrotti Ocampo was seen on surveillance video last Nov. 6 chatting with staff in the hallway for about 20 minutes before she kicked at the office door of an employee.

According to the letter, Dellegrotti Ocampo berated the woman, who the Palm Beach Post said is the treasurer of the school, in front of her colleagues and said: "You should have given Ms. Benn a heads up first," "I brought you here and I can't believe you threw Jen under the bus," and "Why didn't you ask Ms. Benn if you wanted to know how she did the lease last year?"

READ: Full letter sent to principal of Atlantic Community High School

School district officials said the employee was in tears when she told her principal about the incident and said she felt embarrassed and upset. She eventually filed a bullying report with the district.

The letter said the district determined that Dellegrotti Ocampo failed to follow district policies by committing numerous violations, including verbal abuse of an employee, emotional abuse of an employee, ethical misconduct and insubordination.

Dellegrotti Ocampo was ordered not to have contact with the employee, to stop sending emails to employees at the school about the school's operations and not to use her badge to access Everglades Elementary School, among other things.

The letter said Dellegrotti Ocampo would face disciplinary action or could be terminated if she violates any of the orders issued to her in the letter or any school policies.

It's unclear whether Dellegrotti will face disciplinary action from the district after eight students were sent to the hospital and an adult performer was seriously burned during a botched pep rally performance.

Palm Beach County Public Schools superintendent Dr. Robert Avossa held a news conference Friday, where he said the district is looking into who approved the Inferno's Challenge act and whether the principal was aware or a part of the approval process.


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