Grand jury to hear allegations of child abuse in Okaloosa School District
A big development has been made into the allegations of child abuse at the Okaloosa School District.
A father turned to Channel 3 News after he obtained a copy of an Okaloosa School District report this summer involving an investigation involving his 6-year-old son Noah.
Eddie Perillo said a teacher was accused of mistreating his son Noah during the 2015-2016 school year at Kenwood Elementary. He said he was never notified until May of 2017.
On Tuesday, State Attorney Bill Eddins announced he will have a grand jury review the case.
“I have decided to have the grand jury consider and review the operation of the Okaloosa County school system regarding a matter relating to child abuse and matters of reporting of child abuse by employees,” he said.
The State Attorney’s Office launched an investigation after the story aired on Channel 3 and numerous complaints came in.
State investigators are considering allegations of child abuse and operations of the school district and its handling of past and present child abuse cases.
The investigation involves the mistreatment of 6-year-old Noah Perillo at Kenwood Elementary.
The allegations included spraying special needs students in the face with water or vinegar as punishment, using her foot to try to control, move or push a child on the floor, and kneeing the victim in the chin.
The teacher, Marlynn Stillions, of Destin, the former principal, Angelyn Vaughan and the school district internal investigator, Arden Farley were arrested.
State Attorney Bill Eddins said the investigation is far from over and they are going to go "wherever the investigation leads them”.
“We have subpoenaed thousands of documents from the school systems. We’ve obtained all of the reports the school system has done on child abuse and have interviewed several witnesses," he said.
The grand jury will review who the school is operating and report child abuse. They will also decide if other crimes were committed. That relates to employees committing child abuse, employees committing child abuse or the failure to report child abuse.
The grand jury will be presented testimony over a period of three to four weeks.
Eddins said the school board will be invited to appear before the grand jury to express any concerns. The Superintendent and administration will also have an opportunity to explain their past and current policies.
Since the allegations of child abuse were uncovered by the local media, the school has changed or adopted new policies.