Parents Raise Safety Complaints at St. Johns School

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
Parents of kids at Riley Elementary in St. Johns say one disruptive student

St. Johns School Superintendent Dedrick Martin

"It was an incredulous number to allow this to just keep happening before anybody stepped in and intervened," Benson said.

Jerry Benson said his daughter--who is in second grade at Riley Elementary--started being afraid of going to school this year.

"She loved school through kindergarten and first grade," Benson said. "In second grade everything was changing where she just didn't even want to go to school anymore and it just wasn't like her."

It turns out she wasn't the only one.

In the past few weeks there have been several incidents involving a second grade student disrupting class, screaming and being physically violent with other students.

But parents we talked to say they didn't receive official notice from the school about it until just last week.

"That's what so incredulous about this whole thing is that not even parents of the children who were actually assaulted were even notified," Benson said.

When asked about the delay in notifying parents, St. Johns School Superintendent Dedrick Martin said he wasn't sure.

"We're still looking into all the 'whys' and what occurred and led up to the situation," Martin said.

Several parents we spoke to off camera said there had been more than a dozen incidents since the school year began.

Martin wouldn't confirm the number of incidents only saying there had been multiple cases.

District officials held a closed=door meeting Thursday night at Riley to discuss the situation with parents.

Martin said they are investigating and taking action to ensure all students are safe.

"The students who need help are getting the help they need," he said. "Clearly some things we could've started earlier--that didn't occur but we are working on it."

But Benson says the damage is already done.

"It was an incredulous number to allow this to just keep happening before anybody stepped in and intervened," Benson said.

One parent who spoke to us said her child had been punched in the back by the student and had to seek medical attention.

The district wouldn't go into specifics about what they plan to do with the student in question and would not confirm if the students would even back in school after this.

On Thursday the principal of Riley Elementary, Jessica Gillard, resigned though it's unclear if it was because of this incident.

Martin would only say she resigned for "personal reasons."

The district is holding a board meeting on Monday Oct. 14 where they'll be discussing the issue. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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