• Marion County elementary school staffers punished for not reporting alleged abuse, district says

    By: Michael Lopardi

    Updated:

    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Three Anthony Elementary School employees were given letters of reprimand and the principal was demoted to assistant principal at a different school after they failed to report alleged child abuse, Marion County Schools officials said.

    According to the district’s investigation, a developmentally delayed first-grader claimed a threatening man with a knife was in the bathroom.

    The child’s mother told investigators that she told the school about the incident, but said they were slow to act.   

    The child’s mother also told school officials that someone may have scared the child, while noting the first-grader also has difficulty separating fact from fiction.

    The district’s investigation was not able to determine what prompted the child’s story, but officials said that doesn’t matter when it comes to reporting a complaint to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

    Parents outside Anthony Elementary School Thursday were shocked when they learned what had happened.

    “It was mentioned the other day by a friend that the principal was demoted, but I haven’t heard anything other than that,” Lindsey Cyr said.

    Amanda Garner said that parents need to be assured that when their child is at school,  they are being kept safe.

    Part of that is reporting this type of issue, she said.

    “That’s extremely inappropriate. It should have been reported,” Garner said. “We have a system in place. An investigation should be done.”

    The child involved in the incident has been withdrawn from Anthony Elementary School.

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