OCPS chair wants district to investigate Orlando charter school that delayed reporting abuse

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orange County School Board Chairman Teresa Jacobs said in a letter she wants the district to look into options, including in the most extreme case, ending a contract with an Orlando charter school that by its own admission did not notify the Department of Children and Families or Orlando police about accusations that an employee was propositioning students until after conducting an internal investigation.

Jaelen Alexander, 19, was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct, solicitation of a minor and obscene communication to a minor while employed at Orlando Science School.

Alexander is accused of sending inappropriate pictures to students at Orlando Science School, which is owned by Discovery Education Services, and offering at least one of them money to take inappropriate pictures of himself, according to an arrest report.

By the time police were called in, the arrest report states Alexander had been confronted, apologized and resigned.

“As serious as the allegations against Alexander were, of far greater concern is the potential impact of Orlando Science Charter’s apparent decision not to report these allegations to DCF or OPD,” Jacobs wrote in the letter.

According to Jacobs’ letter, she wants to know if the contract between the charter school and the district should be terminated, which would shut down the school.

The letter, dated Monday, said the school was actively pursuing approval from OCPS for the K-8 charter.

“However, no time during the seven weeks of review and deliberation did the school board have any knowledge of the allegations against or the investigation and termination of Jaelen Alexander,” Jacobs wrote.

“Orlando Science Charter and/or DES’s apparent decision not to report these allegations to DCF call into question whether either entity may have attempted to bury this issue out of concern that it might affect the outcome of their application before the School Board,” Jacobs wrote.

According to the arrest report and a school spokesperson, the school said it received tips about Alexander’s behavior the week of March 25.

Alexander, who was a part-time employee, was no longer employed on March 29.

The school resource officer assigned to OSS said he got information about the allegations 30 days later.

On May 6, an OPD detective was assigned to the case. Alexander was arrested and parents were notified nine days after that.

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