Sleepy teacher may soon be fired

A Manatee County teacher's aide is in danger of being fired because he has severe sleep apnea and nods off in the classroom, FOX13 reported.

Robert Singer supervises in school suspensions at Braden River Middle School in Bradenton, Florida. He's now on unpaid administrative leave.

Singer started at Braden River in 2007. Superintendent Tim McGonegal says the problem goes back to 2010. He says Singer has to go.

"He is actually unable to stay awake at work. He has bouts where he'll fall asleep and his role is in the supervision of students in an ISS classroom," McGonegal told FOX 13.

Singer's sleep apnea prevents him from getting sufficient sleep at night. Therefore, he says he is sleepy during the day.

Singer has received written reprimands and a suspension for sleeping during class and staff meetings. The district says it even has video evidence of Singer snoozing.

McGonegal, who once suffered from sleep apnea himself, says Singer's behavior equates to misconduct.

"It's one of those decisions you have to make," explained McGonegal, who says he feels badly. "We don't have the resources to allow people to stay on and not do their role with the district. We need everybody to be pulling their weight."

Singer told FOX 13 he thinks it's unfair the school board wants to terminate him. He says he thinks the school district needs a specific policy in place to directly address employees who have sleep apnea.

Singer believes his medical condition developed as a result to taking care of his aging parents.

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