CORONADO, Calif. - A Coronado High School teacher and coach returned to the classroom Monday after months on administrative leave stemmed from allegations from a middle school student who claimed he was inappropriate with him.
Randy Burgess said it's been a long six months, but he's relieved to return to work and said he's back where he belongs.
"I'm excited to be back in the saddle,” Burgess said. “I’ve been teaching here since 1987."
The 30-year Coronado high school teacher and water polo coach has been on paid administrative leave since April when allegations surfaced that he had an inappropriate relationship with a middle school boy in 2011.
Court documents state the alleged incident happened multiple times in a public place.
Burgess claimed that he never knew or taught the student in question calling the allegations a "total fabrication."
The case was thrown out of court in May.
The Coronado Unified School District investigated and no criminal charges were ever filed. A school district official said through due diligence Burgess has been reinstated and cleared of all charges.
“I understand the initial component of what happened, but beyond that, it was very, very difficult for me or my attorney understand what was going on,” Burgess said.
The community immediately rallied behind Burgess. They set up this Facebook page and in October, hundreds signed a petition demanding he get reinstated.
“When I heard he was gone I was really surprised at the things I heard, cause he never did anything personally to me that made me feel uncomfortable," said Kaitlyn Boles, a former student. “When I saw him out here I was excited to see that he was back.”
Burgess said he’s disappointed the suspension was based on an unfounded allegation and that it lasted this long.
“Back with the kids -- it’s what I love and this is a huge step forward," Burgess said. "It’s not the finish line yet. It’s been a nightmare. A nightmare is an understatement.”