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Florida teen in X-rated videos can return to school after suspension

By Marlena Baldacci, CNN
January 22, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Robert Marucci was suspended from school after his X-rated videos were found
  • Marucci, 18, says he took the job to help pay bills at home
  • Marucci was suspended because of threats, not videos, school district says
  • Teen was threatened when other students found videos, his mother says

(CNN) -- An 18-year-old Florida student is set to return to class Wednesday after he says he was suspended when school officials learned of his pornographic online photos and videos.

Robert Marucci, a senior at Cocoa High School in Cocoa, Florida, told CNN affiliate WKMG that he picked up his X-rated gig to help his mom pay the bills.

His mom, Melyssa Lieb, said when students discovered the explicit material online, her son became a target. "He was bullied, he was threatened."

Then, according to Lieb, her son was suspended, because the principal didn't approve of his after-school activities.

Lieb told CNN affiliate WPLG, "I think that it is Dr. (Stephanie) Soliven's morals and her personal beliefs and I don't think that this is anybody's business except for my son's. The children at the school found (the porn), and she didn't do anything to stop it."

According to WPLG, Lieb said the principal told her, "He was expelled due to his explicit lifestyle career."

Brevard County Schools spokeswoman Michelle Irwin disputed the mother's account, saying that although a campus monitor overheard the chatter surrounding Marucci and his work, Marucci wasn't suspended as a result of his explicit videos. Instead he was suspended because of an investigation of the teen and "possible threats" he made, she said.

Irwin told CNN Tuesday that Soliven, the principal, never had a conversation with Marucci's mother indicating her disapproval of his lifestyle and only offered resources to the teen in support of his "alternative lifestyle."

After a four-day suspension, school administrators cleared Marucci of any suspicion Monday, and he will be allowed to return to school Wednesday, according to Irwin. Irwin also said that she wasn't aware of any bullying of Marucci and that the student never filed any formal bullying complaints.

Irwin told CNN that the school district would never suspend a student for any legal career they pursue outside of school hours, saying if Marucci was "a drug dealer for instance, that would be a different story."

A Facebook group created in support of Marucci has a little more than 500 members. Dozens of students were involved in a walkout on Friday, protesting the teen's suspension.

CNN's calls to Robert Marucci's home and the website for which he works were not returned.

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