Saturday, March 2

State won’t file felony charges against Palm Beach County teacher arrested 3 times in 2 weeks

The State Attorney’s Office will not file felony charges against a Palm Beach County teacher arrested three times in less than two weeks back in November, newly released court documents reveal.

As of Wednesday, Hawazin Wright, 43, who most recently taught English at Boynton Beach Community High School, remains in the Palm Beach County Jail, where he’s been in custody since his most recent arrest on Nov. 26.

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Court records show the State Attorney’s Office will not file charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without an intent to kill, possession of ecstasy/MDMA, harassing telephone calls, and written threats to kill or do bodily injury, stemming from two separate arrests that came just days apart from one another.

In at least one of those cases, prosecutors said they’re not moving forward because the victim is not cooperating with the investigation.

The first incident happened in the early morning hours of Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving, when West Palm Beach police officers responded to O’Shea’s Pub, located in 500 block of Clematis Street, and found several people holding Wright down on the ground.

According to Wright’s arrest report, a witness told officers he saw the teacher wearing a three-piece suit, black water boots, and a blue ball cap acting “strange” and “looking into vehicles and pacing around.”

Wright then approached a woman sitting on a bench who appeared to be “uncomfortable in Wright’s presence.”

The witness went up to the woman, asked if she was OK, then offered to walk her home. As he did, Wright “began to scream profanities” at the man, the arrest report stated.

A security guard from O’Shea’s Pub then approached Wright “to make sure things did not escalate further,” and that’s when police said the teacher pulled out a 12-inch black retractable baton from his back pocket and whipped it open, “extending it in a threatening manner.”

Another man then tackled Wright to the ground, and a group of bar patrons held him down until police arrived.

Officers handcuffed Wright and he was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where he was medically cleared by a doctor.

“Wright would not stop shouting and screaming while in custody, stating that he was attacked by a mob, due to being a gay white Muslim American male who is a Trump supporter,” according to the arrest report.

Police said when they searched Wright, they found a “small clear baggie containing a white crystallized substance” inside his jacket pocket. That substance later tested positive for methamphetamine.

However, a new court filing from Assistant State Attorney Michael Kridos on Dec. 19 said “The State declines to file charges as the victim failed to cooperate with the investigation.”

Court documents show the State Attorney’s Office will also not file criminal charges against Wright from his Nov. 26 arrest when West Palm Beach police said the teacher harassed and made death threats toward a 46-year-old woman he was dating who had cut off contact with him.

It’s unclear why prosecutors are not moving forward with that case.

According to Wright’s arrest report, he and the woman met online and went on three dates, after which “she discovered that he was not someone that she wanted to be around,” saying he “lied to her on multiple occasions.”

The woman said Wright had been “texting her non stop,” and when she stopped communicating with him, he told her she was a “dead woman walking.”

West Palm Beach police reviewed the text messages and said they backed up the woman’s claims.

“I’m not sure when the alleged text messages occurred,” Wright told a Palm Beach County judge during a court hearing on Nov. 27. “But I never received any verbal directive from her to stop calling her or texting her. I thought we were gonna have dinner on Saturday night. And then she just called the police on me.”

WPTV contacted the public defender representing Wright for a comment on the State Attorney’s Office’s decision to not file felony charges, but has not heard back.

Wright is also facing misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed weapon and resisting an officer without violence from a Nov. 19 incident where West Palm Beach police said the teacher interrupted a pro-Palestinian rally on Okeechobee Boulevard while carrying a “10-inch knife with a curved blade” under his shirt.

Wright has pleaded not guilty to those charges. The next hearing in that case is scheduled for Jan. 11.

It should be noted that all three arrests over that two-week span in November occurred during Thanksgiving break while schools were not in session.

Court records reveal a risk protection order issued against Wright late last year is currently in place until Dec. 4.

The order said Wright cannot have any guns in his possession, adding that the teacher “poses a significant danger of causing personal injury to himself or others by having a weapon, firearm or any ammunition in his custody or control.”

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Wright, who has been employed by the School District of Palm Beach County since 2017, is currently on administrative leave.

School district records show Wright received a written reprimand on Aug. 9, 2023 for insubordination and ethical misconduct after an incident at Christa McAuliffe Middle School.

Wright was also instructed on May 9, 2023 to “cease and desist” from communicating with any students, either in-person or electronically, until being cleared to return to regular assigned work duties.

West Palm Beach Police Deputy Chief Richard Morris told WPTV he’s been in touch with the school district’s police department regarding the case.

“Some of the language coming out of his mouth is very offensive, very hateful, very concerning. And someone like that definitely should not be around children,” Morris told WPTV education reporter Stephanie Susskind back in November. “We’re communicating with the school district police pepartment at the district. They’ve got their own process. I’m very confident the process will be fulfilled and an acceptable outcome will come of it.”

A review of Wright’s personnel file showed he began teaching in the School District of Palm Beach County in 2017 at the now-closed Odyssey Middle School.

Wright then moved to Christa McAuliffe Middle School. He was rated as a highly effective teacher in 2021, the most recent year his evaluation is available. He began teaching English in August of last year at Boynton Beach Community High School, according to district documents.

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