Hernando County School District Chief Financial Officer Desiree Henegar has resigned amid allegations she posted messages and pornography to a sex blog during a school board meeting.
Superintendent of Schools Bryan Blavatt said earlier this week, and prior to Henegar’s resignation, that he would investigate recent allegations that Henegar distributed messages and pornography to a sex blog from a personal account while on district property.
"It was very short and basic, basically saying she wanted to tender her resignation from the position at this time, and felt it was in the best interest of the school district and community that she resign from the position," Blavatt said regarding Henegar’s resignation letter. "We’ll tender it. I’ll take it to the board and they’ll make a decision, but as of Monday we’ll advertise for the position."
The allegations stemmed from an unsubstantiated anonymous tip that resulted in media reports referencing messages sent by an account allegedly registered to Henegar on Tumblr, a social networking website, but did not identify Henegar by name or appearance.
"We got an anonymous tip, but didn’t give us the information as to who the person was, and where they could find it; it was pretty general," said Blavatt, adding that the information provided in media reports was more specific. "When we explored it, we didn’t have anything to go any further with."
Blavatt said the critical issue, if any, was the time and place the information was allegedly distributed.
"What you do in your home, or do as a private citizen has a different standard, but if in fact you’re sending messages during our school time, or at work, that’s a different story," Blavatt said, adding that it does not appear Henegar sent the alleged messages with district equipment.
"If anything was sent on school district equipment, it would be a whole different story. We have filters in the school district system that won’t allow you to get on," he said.
The media reports, and Henegar’s resignation to follow, occurred before any potential issues could be addressed internally, Blavatt said.
"Generally, as a CFO I think her work was pretty good," School Board Chairman Matt Foreman said. "I hope she learns from the experience, and I hope she recovers from it."
"Honestly, the entire thing is unfortunate; that’s what it really comes down to," Foreman said. "It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances, because Ms. Henegar had a lapse in judgment, and she’s decided to leave the district, which is tough.
"We’re going to have to hire somebody new," he added. "The entire thing is difficult to process, but I don’t see any way she would have been able to effectively continue in her job after all of this has come to light. I think she would have become a distraction."
Although Tumblr shows the account Henegar allegedly used as deactivated, a search of old posts shows "likes" or "re-blogs" upward of almost 47,000.
The site shows comments on haikus and notes of encouragement like, "It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart. Don’t get overwhelmed … breathe!" and quotes by the transcendentalist American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Finish each day and be done with it.
Others included: "You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."
Blavatt said he received a letter and email by Henegar, and will bring it to the next School Board meeting Jan. 22.
"There are no positives for anybody in this whole thing," Blavatt said. "I feel terrible for her, but I also recognize that the biggest problem might be the fact that people don’t realize that even if you’re on the Internet, and think it’s secure and someone gets hold of it, it won’t bode well."
"Don’t put anything on the Internet you wouldn’t want your mom to see," he said.
Henegar could not be reached for comment.