Brevard Co. band director accused of harassing students; investigations opened


BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A Brevard County band director is under fire, accused of making sexual statements to his high school students.

"He told my daughter he liked the blue, silky shirt she wore the day before because it made her breasts attractive," said one parent.

But that's not all furious parents and students said he did. Several students the Heritage High School band in Palm Bay claim they were harassed by director J. Bernard Wilkins.

WFTV found out those complaints have sparked investigations from both Palm Bay police and the Brevard County School District.

Some parents are even taking their kids out of the school.

On Friday, WFTV's Renee Stoll talked to the school district about the investigation.

Leaders of the school district said there is an open investigation that's been going on for two weeks, and Wilkins is working with pay during the investigation.

Seventeen-year-old Brooke Oxrieder spent the last three years as captain of the drum line at Heritage High School but recently quit.

"I dedicated my life to music," she said. "For it to end in the band director harassing me and getting death threats."

"He had told her that when she was dating, 'What do I need to sew your legs shut?' on numerous occasions," said Brooke's mother Trisha Oxrieder.

Brooke Oxrieder said the comments eventually got to be too much.

"When he said he'd be a man-whore with all the band moms if he was single, I just kind of broke down and lost it," she said.

WFTV spoke to more than a dozen students and parents who said they've complained about Wilkins.

Lori Peterson was so disturbed by what she saw when she chaperoned a trip that she's taking her child out of the school.

"We were going on eight hours without a restroom," she said. "One particular young lady had asked to use the restroom so bad she was urinating on herself."

Peterson said Wilkins told the girl to wait, but she took the teen behind the bus to go.

Some parents didn't want to be identified for fear of retaliation for their kids.

"He's spoken about their breasts, and they're very uncomfortable," said one parent. "He's told them, 'Your parents complain, you will be in more trouble.'"

WFTV called and emailed Wilkins to get his response to these allegations but has not heard back. It's possible he may not face any charges since no students have complained about him touching them.

Police said their investigation should wrap up next week.