NewsLocal News


Middle school student accused of sexual assault on classmate in North Fort Myers school

Posted at 9:38 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 22:58:17-04

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. — A North Fort Myers mom says she found out her daughter was having trouble in school, via text.

"I received a text from my daughter asking for therapy," she said.

That mom, who wants to remain anonymous, claims that after that text on May 5.

Her daughter revealed that she'd been sexually assaulted by a classmate, several times since March, at the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts.

She says her daughter was embarrassed about what happened and held off on telling her.

The Lee County School District and the Lee County Sheriff's Office both confirm that an investigation into these allegations is currently going on, but the district and that mom differ on the timeline of events in this case.

"It had been going on and she had made three to four written reports each time the kid has touched her," she said.

That mom says her daughter reported the incident to school staff when she was first assaulted in March.

But the Lee County School District says when her daughter spoke up in March, she never told them she'd been sexually assaulted.

They say the school investigated her claims and that another student was "disciplined" according to what they knew at the time.

"And we never knew anything, anything," she said.

That mom also says that she was never notified by the school about that first investigation or about the fact that another child had been disciplined because of it.

But, the district claims that the school contacted her.

In the end, what the district and that mom can agree on is that there was some kind of initial issue between her daughter and that other student, that started in March.

"There's no words like my heart. She's my baby," she said.

That mom also tells FOX 4 that her daughter was sent inappropriate text messages by that other student and she says she's pulled her daughter out of the school until the investigation is finished.

The Lee County School District said in a statement that they are cooperating fully and do not tolerate sexual assault on their campuses.

According to the code of conduct for Lee County Schools allegations of sexual assault between students must be reported to the district, but schools are not required to report those cases to law enforcement. However, the code of conduct does calling law enforcement is "expected."

It also lists sexual assault as a "level three" behavioral issue, in which the school district will attempt to contact the parents of the alleged attacker. But it doesn't provide guidelines for the parents of the alleged victim.

It's a notification clarification that a bill, waiting on the governor's signature, would hope to clear up.

It's called the "Parents Bill of Rights" and it provides a broad list of guarantees that a parent would have, especially when it comes to their child's education or health.

For example, in a case of sexual assault, a school would have to notify the parents of the victim and the attacker or if your child came out as gay or trans to a trusted teacher or guidance counselor, the school would be required to notify parents as well.