by: Shannon Butler, Janine Reyes Updated:
WINTER PARK, Fla. - A group of teenage girls said they have lived in constant fear since a classmate was charged with recording video up their skirts at school.
Now, four Winter Park teenagers said they feel victimized again because the suspect, a football player for the school’s undefeated team, was allowed back on campus.
“Every night, before I go to bed, I look under my bed to make sure he is not there. Check behind my closet door because I’m scared he’s there,” said one of the victims, who Channel 9 is not identifying due to her age.
Police charged the boy with misdemeanors for video voyeurism, but the school district decided not to remove the boy from the school.
The young girls and their parents say that is the biggest injustice of it all.
It's been nine months since the first 15-year-old victim complained to Winter Park High School saying that she had been violated.
“I am so traumatized from it. I am scared, I think,” she said.
— Shannon Butler (@SButlerWFTV) November 10, 2017
She said she was in biology class on Jan. 27 when she saw a male student on his knees with a cellphone.
Wondering what he was doing, she grabbed the phone.
“He tried to pull it away from me, tried to not let me see and I flipped over his phone and it had been recording up my dress for over a minute,” she said. “I made him delete the video, because I was afraid he was going to send it.”
She said she told the school nurse, called her parents and then went to the police, who looked through the phone.
The girl’s parents said three other girls were identified on those videos by the clothes they were wearing and their voices.
After the investigation, the student was removed from Winter Park High School.
The families thought the ordeal was behind them, until they said their daughters saw the boy back at school this fall.
Now, the girls walk the same halls as the student they complained about.
The parents worry that their daughters have been victims not once, but now twice.
“They should be able to feel safe, but the reality (is) they feel far from safe. That is because of the lack of action by (Orange County Public Schools),” said one of the parents of the victims.
The parents said they are proud of the girls for coming forward, but said the message that the school district sent to them is that doing what is right gets you nowhere.
The judge had issued a no contact order between the victims and the suspect, so the parents don’t understand why the student wasn’t transferred to another school.
The girls’ parents said, since the girls came forward, fellow students have shown support for the suspect.
The parents said the other students on campus know who the victims and suspect are.
“The girls did nothing wrong. They went to class and this guy violated their privacy,” said a parent.
The district could not say what punishment it had in place for the suspect because it has to protect his privacy, but the parents of the victims described two different supervision plans for the boy.
One is a 10-point plan that required a parent or guardian to escort the teenager to the main office because he and the victims had seen each other in the school parking lot.
He has his own separate bell schedule so he doesn’t see the girls in the hall, but the victims said the schedule is not enforced.
“He’s still violating the supervision plan on a daily basis, and my daughter just feels very uncomfortable,” said a parent.
Point No. 4 on the plan said, “If the (suspect) has a cellphone he will turn it in to the front desk before the start of each school day” and that a “Parent, guardian or coach will be with the (suspect) from the beginning of practice until the time he leaves campus.”
He also has to eat lunch on the benches between the 300 and 400 buildings, with the administrator covering the supervision area.
“The no contact orders are not worth the paper they are written on. The supervision plan that is supposed to govern the offender, this young man, is not worth the paper it’s written on. It’s a joke,” said a parent of a victim.
The parents have emailed the school constantly about what they feel are violations of the agreements, but the school has called all of those encounters accidental.
The parents have also reached out to the school board, including Chairman Bill Sublette, with no response.
Channel 9 also tried to contact the school board but had not heard back.
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