• Parents petition for new principal at Dr. Phillips Elementary School


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An online petition is underway to oust the principal at Dr. Phillip’s Elementary School.

    The change.org petition has more than 800 signatures and it’s growing.

    Parent and petition Organizer Rachel Hutter wants action on claims Principal Daniel Merchant turned a blind eye to alleged sexual harassment of a female student.

    “We need action on this,” said Hutter. “This isn’t a topic I want to open up with my child. She’s so young. I don’t want to have to talk to her about sexual harassment.”

    Investigators found Merchant’s subordinate, Assistant Principal Scott Peters, referred to female teachers as “vaginas on fire.” The text was sent to Merchant.

    “I see a big connection here with an administration that allowed an environment of females being described in derogatory and dismissive terms,” said Hutter.

    Peters admitted sending the vulgar text.

    He was reassigned to a position away from the school three weeks later.

    Hutter said it wasn’t enough.

    She and others are planning a meeting with top school district leaders Friday to demand a clean slate at the helm of the embattled school.

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