• Orange County principals under fire for "Vaginas on fire" text


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Two Orange County principals are facing backlash after 9 Investigates uncovered text messages they shared referring to female teachers under their supervision as “Vaginas on fire.”

    “Well it sounds like sexual harassment,” said Teacher’s Union President Diana Moore. “I think that creates a very hostile environment for the employees at that school.”

    The text was sent by Assistant Principal Scott Peters to Principal Daniel Merchant at Dr. Phillips Elementary School in September.

    “The teachers are very concerned about it,” Moore said. 

    The scandal became known around campus as “textgate” and led to an investigation by Orange County Public Schools.

    The investigation file is hundreds of pages long.

    District leaders turned over the documents after WFTV's lawyers got involved.

    Documents revealed Merchant, who has previous write-ups in his personnel file, was issued a written reprimand.

    Peters was given the same punishment.

    A parent of two girls at the school said the punishment was too lax.

    “It should be more severe,” said parent Brian Fernandes.

    Channel 9 was not able to reach Peters for comment.

    The school district said it couldn’t comment on personnel matters.

    It’s still unclear what the teachers were upset about that led to the principal using those words in the text message.

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