Department of Education could open investigation into Okaloosa School Superintendent
The State Attorney’s investigation into the Okaloosa School District is over, but the grand jury is now asking the Department of Education to review allegations of child abuse.
The state’s lengthy investigation began nearly months ago surrounding the mistreatment of a 6-year-old autistic boy, Noah Perillo, at Kenwood Elementary.
Four people were arrested including the Okaloosa School District's Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and a principal.
In a grand jury report, it states they have asked the State Attorney’s Office to “continue its investigation to determine if evidence existed to support more arrests.”
It states as follows:
“This additional investigation has now been completed and presented to us for our review. This new evidence concerns Mary Beth Jackson as well as allegations of possible child abuse by a former school district teacher”.
Base on the lack of evidence against Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson, the grand jury returned a true bill which means she will not be indicted.
Channel 3 News reached out to Ms. Jackson for comment. She provided us with a written statement:
I greatly appreciate the work of the State Attorney and the Grand Jury. I am hoping that our school district can move forward now and focus all our efforts on teaching our students.
The grand jury report is still concerned about her lack of leadership.
“We are most concerned about her behavior, lack of leadership and failure to fulfill her obligations as superintendent” the grand jury report stated.
The allegations that sparked the grand jury investigation 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, a report outlined.
The grand jury’s ended their report by requesting all of their reports to be forwarded to the Department of Education so they can conduct their own investigation, and take appropriate action against Okaloosa Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson.
The 6-year-old's father, Eddie Perillo, told Channel 3 News he believes the superintendent was ultimately responsible. Again, a the grand jury did not indict her.
The grand jury also ask the School District and the School Board to move forward to fully implement the recommendations in their previous report.
The State Attorney’s Office released the grand jury on June 13th.