Two recently reported incidents involving allegations of potential criminal sexual wrongdoing within the Collier County School District had a similar result. The Collier County Sheriff’s office found insufficient evidence to prosecute, and the matters were referred back to Collier County Public Schools for internal investigation and little-or-no penalties.
- May 2017 Golden Gate High School investigation into alleged teacher sexual assault on underage student. Student-victim allegedly confirms the sex acts. Result: Teacher is back teaching at Golden Gate High School. See Bolduc and Bracci post, linked here.
- December 2017 Manatee Middle School investigation into bus driver allegedly texting sexual messages to a minor student over a period of months, going so far as to ask whether the student will meet the bus driver in a park. Result: Sheriff finds no criminality, CCPS suspends but doesn’t fire the bus driver. See Parents Rock post, linked here.
In one other case not referred to law enforcement, the following allegedly occurred:
- 2015-16 and January 2018 East Naples Middle School teacher investigation. According to a Naples Daily News story, students allegedly observe their classroom teacher “‘looking for a hot date’ and ‘free online chat dating,’ as well as viewing an image of a “penis.” Result: On June 3, 2016, Superintendent Patton issues a “letter of reprimand,” the teacher is given a 3 day suspension, is told by the Superintendent that “viewing images not related to your instructional duties during instructional time is completely unacceptable,” and is allowed back in the classroom. Fast-forward to January 2018, and allegedly something similar happens. Teacher is allowed to “resign” instead of being fired, apparently allowing the teacher to avoid a black mark on his record, and thus, eligible to teach elsewhere. See Naples Daily News story, linked here.
These incidents have something in common – criminality is being deflected by the Sheriff, and CCPS is soft-pedaling its internal investigations and penalties.
Perhaps there is more to this.
Superintendent Patton came to our community from Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Miami-Dade is where Patton groomed herself toward a superintendent position. Published research alleges that around the same time that Patton arrived in Collier County in 2011, Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s administration was engaged in a police program that intentionally covered up criminal activity within his school district, keeping it from the public by converting student criminal matters into internal educational matters which the public could not access. Then, Carvalho’s administration publicly bragged about how the Miami-Dade Public Schools had statistically reduced juvenile delinquency, when really his administration was just covering it up. This was all exposed when the Trayvon Martin murder became a national news story in 2012, and people started looking into Martin’s prior transgressions while a Miami-Dade student.
Please read this story about Miami-Dade linked here, and compare it to much of what now happens in our Collier County School District:
According to the article:
“Chief Hurley was following the orders of School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho to hide the criminal activity of black male student offenders.
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Reports were falsified, evidence was concealed/destroyed, and in some cases hidden within the evidence/property room – intentionally not investigated. In the case of Trayvon Martin, the stolen jewelry within his backpack was just shipped for storage to a property room without a police report and listed as randomly “found property”.
This is one example of how young black male students were diverted away from the criminal justice system. Not by correcting the behavior, but by falsely documenting the activity and then using school discipline to replace criminal adjudication.
The M-DSPD never investigated student crime when it was carried out by young black males. And in the case of Trayvon Martin, they took it several steps further, they concealed criminal conduct, hid stolen merchandise, and actively worked to cover it up.
Superintendent Carvalho instructed Chief Hurley to do it to improve statistics. Merely to improve statistics. But what they ended up doing was actually illegal.”
So the Miami-Dade Superintendent reportedly instructed his administration and the police department to intentionally conceal criminal conduct to improve school district statistics.
A superintendent obsessed with dramatically improving school district statistics – does that sound familiar?
It happened in Miami-Dade. Could this also be happening here in Collier County, with all of these threats that are going criminally uncharged, and allegations of sexual predation that are being redirected by law enforcement investigators back to CCPS? Is there an orchestrated effort to save face for Patton’s school district administration, redirecting investigations back to CCPS which then result in little or no penalty, with the CCPS employees being allowed back into the school system, or being “asked to resign” so they are free to teach elsewhere?
Take, for instance, the East Naples Middle School investigation. The Superintendent reportedly summarized that the teacher was merely “viewing images not related to your instructional duties during instructional time.” That’s it?? The teacher allegedly exposed his students to an image of a male penis in his classroom. Reducing this down to “viewing images not related to instructional duties” is seemingly itself a cover-up, as in the case of Miami-Dade’s handling of the Trayvon Martin case in Miami-Dade, where Carvahlo’s administrators referred to Martin’s possession of marijuana as “tobacco products,” and his possession of stolen jewelry as just “found items.”
In the instance of the criminal investigations referenced above, why was there no criminality? Consider the Manatee Middle School bus driver case. If a bus driver texting a middle schooler asking to meet in a park does not constitute a crime, why didn’t the Sheriff’s office set up a “sting” by using the student’s phone to accept the invitation and have someone meet the bus driver in the park, thereby establishing the illicit intent? Instead, the Sheriff’s office reportedly just referred it back to CCPS, for a mere “suspension” of the bus driver.
Overall, Sheriff Rambosk runs an effective sheriff’s organization. But for some reason, when it comes to CCPS-related criminal investigations, Rambosk’s detectives are repeatedly finding that “there’s no there there.” Why is that?
Is “Superintendent-of-the-Year” Patton, like her former boss Alberto Carvalho, more concerned about her own statistical track record on incidents involving student safety and sexual predation, such that Patton’s administration is willing to bury these incidents to avoid negative publicity?
Miami-Dade ultimately was pressured by outside forces into doing an investigation of its practices, exposing its improprieties.
Perhaps it’s time for the people of Collier County to demand the same of Patton’s Collier County School District.
***Update to Story***:
In a Naples Daily News article on Feb. 19, 2018 titled “Barron Collier Student Who Wrote Hit Removed From School,” it was reported that:
“A Collier County Public School student who wrote a hit list, shooting plan and suicide note has been removed from his school and is under law enforcement supervision, according to a joint statement released by the school district and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators determined the threat was not credible and said last week the case had been closed.
But on Monday a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman said the investigation is open and that witnesses are still being interviewed.”
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“The Sheriff’s Office decided not to arrest the student but issued the author a juvenile civil citation, a pre-arrest diversion program, according to reports.”
If I understand Annika Hammerschlag’s article correctly, it seems to be saying that the Sheriff’s investigation was closed and that there was a determination of no significant threat despite a published hit list including the names of 27 individuals, until the night of Sunday, February 18, when the recent events of the Broward County school massacre, followed by a huge uprising of discontent in our community against the CCSO/CCPS as reported here and on Parents Rock (14,000+ views in one weekend alone), resulted in a re-opening of the investigation. Why did it take a shooting at another Florida shooting for our local leaders to spring into action? Seemingly, this investigation was reopened not because it was the right thing to do, but because recent events and bad publicity gave them no other choice.
Incidentally, the issuance of “juvenile civil citations” rather than criminal arrests is the same pattern of policing that was orchestrated between Carvalho’s Miami-Dade School District and its police department back around 2012.