Orlando Local News

Education officials hold private meeting over safety concerns

todaySeptember 7, 2022

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Education Department officials are set to meet with Orange County Public School superintendents Wednesday, citing major concerns regarding school safety.


What You Need To Know

  • The Education Department back on Aug. 29, outlines serious concerns, including underreporting incidents of criminal activity to the department

  • Within a grand jury report, there are references to incidents involving sexual assault and even students attacking a school resource officer

  • Wednesday’s meeting between OCPS superintendents and the education department is closed to the public

This is all stemming from a grand jury report that indicated some local schools, even though in Orange County, were not reporting serious incidents, as reported by Spectrum News 13 last week. Four school board members in Broward County were recently suspended after the grand jury found violations of safety measures.

Spectrum News 13 obtained the letter sent out by the Education Department back on Aug. 29, which outlines serious concerns. Those concerns include underreporting incidents of criminal activity to the department.

The report cites incidents at schools in the Apopka area involving a sexual assault between students, a sexual assault on a student by a teacher, and students attacking school resource officers.

Spectrum News 13 spoke with the vice chair of the Orange County School Board last week, who said since joining the board in 2018, she’s working to strengthen the relationship between administration and police.

“We talk all the time, I ask him, ‘Is everything okay?’ How is everything going?’ And he tells me if he needs help with anything.  And that’s why I was so shocked by reading this report because that is not the reality that I see every day and the reality when I talk to him,” said Vice Chairwoman Melissa Byrd.

Apopka Police Department officials told Spectrum News the department has worked with school leaders over the past several years to make sure both parties know what should be reported.

Orange County Public Schools sent Spectrum News 13 a statement last week, saying while student safety is their highest priority, they do not comment on specific security matters.

As for Wednesday’s meeting between OCPS superintendents and the Education Department, it’s closed to the public.

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