• Parents upset after Yulee Primary principal named ESE director

    By: Danielle Avitable , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    There have been multiple allegations of abuse inside a special needs classroom at Yulee Primary School.

    Action News Jax reported last school year that a teacher’s aide was fired and another was suspended.

    Now, the former principal of the school is the Exceptional Student Education director for Nassau County.

    "We weren't taken seriously at all. It's a huge slap in the face," parent Stephanie Smith said.

    That’s how Smith said she felt after hearing that the former principal of Yulee Primary School, Misty Mathis, became the county's ESE director.

    "We accused her of allowing abuse to happen at her school on many occasions, and now she's the director," Smith said.

    In September, nearly a year after the investigation involving Smith’s son, Action News Jax reported that the Department of Children and Families was investigating the same special-needs class for abuse allegations. No signs of abuse were found.

    Then in December, a teacher’s aide was investigated for a second time and fired.

    In March, Action News Jax reported on an investigation surrounding a paraprofessional for allegations of abuse at the same school. She was suspended without pay for a month.

    "I feel like parents should be concerned about this and kind of appalled because what else is she going to sweep under the rug?" Smith said.

    Action News Jax reached out to the Nassau County school district and was told that the charges that were made were dealt with appropriately and actions were taken when needed.

    Smith said she didn’t like how Mathis handled the abuse allegations.

    "She did not take care of it in a timely manner," she said. "She continued to allow these people in the classroom with an ongoing investigation."

    When Action News Jax called the district’s office, we were also told that Mathis has a big heart for special-needs students and the administration can see the department getting better under her leadership.

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