POMPANO BEACH — Prosecutors with the Broward State Attorney’s Office are looking into whether they should file criminal charges in the case of a school campus monitor who was named in separate altercations with two girls at the school where he works.
Trevor C. Allen, a security specialist at Crystal Lake Middle School, 3551 N.E. Third Ave., Pompano Beach, is the subject of a criminal investigation of the incidents, both involving 12-year-old female students.
“We have an ongoing investigation into possible misdemeanor battery charges,” said Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the Broward State Attorney’s Office. “It’s being handled out of our North Satellite office.”
Efforts to reach Allen were unsuccessful and there were no responses to emails sent to his school district account seeking comment.
Allen is accused of fighting with Raenesha Donald on March 28. That incident was captured by school surveillance cameras which show Allen talking with the girl before rushing at her and driving her into a garbage can, then into a fence. They ended up on the ground with Allen on top of her. Raenesha’s blouse was torn open during the struggle before teachers and students arrived.
In the second incident, which took place on Oct. 25, student Tamera Gordon said she was denied permission to leave class for a bathroom break, but she went anyway because of the urgency. She says Allen intercepted her in the hallway and grabbed her before slamming her against a wall.
Myriam Gustave, a reading teacher who happened to be in the hallway at the time, reportedly witnessed the incident and reported it to school authorities. Allen was transferred from the school on Nov. 1 pending the outcome of a school district investigation.
Peter Hanna, a Fort Lauderdale-based attorney, who is representing the two students, said despite complaints made to school officials, no action was taken against Allen over the first incident.
Florida’s anti-bullying law, the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act,” requires, among other things, that all Florida schools adopt anti-bullying policies, enforce those policies and provide training to prevent it. Annual reports must be submitted to the Florida Department of Education on bullying statistics; failure to do so could put a school’s state funding at risk.
The law is named after a 15-year-old student who was bullied, including over the Internet, despite repeated reports to school officials. When no action was taken, the boy committed suicide in 2005. His mother, Debbie Johnston, a school teacher, worked with then Govs. Jeb Bush and Charlie Crist, as well as then state Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff in a successful bid to get the legislation passed in 2008.
Hanna said after getting no response from school officials, he filed a bullying complaint via a form on the school’s website. In a response required by state law, school principal Sabine Phillips wrote that since it was a single incident, it didn’t amount to bullying as defined by school district policy and she closed the complaint without action.
Phillips did not respond to questions from the South Florida Times. “The reality is you have a little girl who was pummeled by a person who is supposed to be there to protect her and it’s captured on video,” Hanna said. “The school did nothing and tried to make it seem as if it didn’t happen and now we have a second incident involving the same person.”
The Broward Sheriff Office’s Child Protective Investigations Section (CPIS), which handles child abuse investigations for the school district and the Department of Children and Families, sent investigators to the school on Nov. 7 to take statements from Tamera and Raenesha. Sources said their investigation has been completed and a report was sent to prosecutors, who are reviewing the case.
Allen, who began working for the school district in 2002 and currently earns $32,558 annually, has been replaced as Crystal Lake Middle’s security specialist, according to the school’s website. But his name is still listed on the district’s Office of Prevention Programs website as holding that position.
Hanna has now filed claims with the Florida Department of Education and has put the school district on notice of possible legal action. Johns Eastern Company, a Lakewood Ranch-based claims adjuster for FDOE, is evaluating the claims.
“Violence in schools is a very serious concern and I’m thankful the state attorney’s office is involved,” Hanna said. “We tried to work with the school to resolve this, but the principal didn’t do anything.”