How Closely Was Classroom Being Supervised in Mims Elementary Inappropriate Touching?
What would you think if you were summoned to your child’s kindergarten class with other parents, and questioned about whether your child had ever mentioned being inappropriately touched? As a father of four children, I think I would be horrified. Apparently, this is the situation that parents in a Mims Elementary kindergarten class faced earlier this week.
According to a story posted on Local 6/Clickorlando.com, an investigation by the Department of Children and Families, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, and Brevard Public Schools at Mims Elementary is under way involving allegations of inappropriate touching. Investigators are not sharing many details at this point, but the story mentions that the regular classroom teacher has been pulled from this kindergarten class. Parents are quoted as saying they are “concerned” about what might have gone on in the classroom. I would bet that “concerned” is an understatement.
As a Florida child sexual abuse attorney, I know that the effects of child sexual abuse often last a lifetime. The damage done to a child during these formative years can have major psychological impact for years to come, including being detrimental to adult relationships and healthy sexuality.
While the Brevard County Schools were correct to conduct an investigation, the School Board can still face liability depending upon the facts and circumstances of what happened in the classroom. Institutions, like schools, that cater to kids and place them in regular contact with adults, such as teachers, must supervise the contacts between children and adults. Supervision means paying attention to indicators, even if they were subtle, that something inappropriate was happening. In my experience handling cases involving negligent supervision, there are almost always signs that were ignored and shouldn’t have been.
It will be interesting to see how this story progresses.