SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) – Recent video of a fight at Seminole Middle School prompted dozens of parents to call 8 On Your Side for help. Many of the parents complained that the fight, which ended with three students getting arrested and charged with a felony, stems from an even bigger problem.
“It seems like the students have too much control. There’s not enough authority,” said one parent, Mindy Rovillo.
She tells us her 7th grader brings home all kinds of stories about fights and drugs in the school.
But, parents aren’t the only people who have contacted 8 On Your Side.
A former employee at Seminole Middle, who doesn’t want to be identified, tells the lack of discipline is enabled by the principal, Wendy Bryan.
“They feel as though they can act however they want to whomever they want, and at the end of the day, as long as they play their cards right they are going to get bailed out,” that former employee said.
According to police reports obtained by News Channel 8, Bryan expressed disappointment in how the teachers responded to the fight. However, the sheriff’s department explained they believed the teachers involved acted appropriately.
Many parents and former employees tell us they believe the principal doesn’t support the teachers in heated or controversial situations.
“The teachers are not supported,” said a former employee. “When it comes to the teachers trying to do discipline that’s appropriate and within county expectations, they are told not to do it.”
Meanwhile, Bryan sent an email to families after many called the school to express concern.
Part of it says:
“Seminole Middle School staff meets to review processes related to student behavior. To build on that effort, administration, staff and our school resource officer will immediately meet to discuss improvements we can make moving forward.
I am working closely with the school district’s exceptional student education department regarding the current model for our Emotional Behavior Disorder units. We are exploring other options that will better support the needs of these students.
There is nothing more important than the quality of learning in our classrooms. When interruptions arise, we strive to address them quickly and support our teachers so they can continue their important work. Please feel free to contact my office if you continue to have concerns.”
News Channel 8 reached out to Bryan for more comments on the changes she is hoping to make, but we were denied an interview.
Meanwhile, the school district issued this statement:
“The Area Superintendent has been meeting with the principal to formulate a plan to address concerns brought forth by families. The school will continue to support every student at Seminole Middle. The principal is taking this extremely seriously and wants to assure parent concerns are being heard and immediate action will be taken following a review of processes. We will provide more information as plans progress.”
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