JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Officials from Duval County Public School system said the district's Office of Professional Standards opened an investigation into two First Coast High School employees due to a report that improper restraint or physical contact was used on students during two different incidents.
The employees under investigation worked as paraprofessionals in the Pride program, which is a special program for students that have emotional or behavioral disabilities and require additional support that a typical classroom setting.
A DCPS spokesperson sent Action News Jax a copy of the email Principal Justin Fluent sent to parents Friday.
It reads in part, “Our district professional standards team is conducting a full investigation, and we will also cooperate with all external investigative agencies that might become involved when something of this nature is reported. Because this is under investigation, it is not possible to share any more details at this time. I do want you to know that we have the highest standards when it comes to the care of children, and if the allegations are substantiated, we will take appropriate action based on the findings. “
Despite the notification, some parents and staff said they were unaware of any incident or investigation into two paraprofessionals.
“Very shocked. Not sure what went on but just very shocked about it,” Parent Latadra Harris said. “We don’t know if our child was being handled and we don’t know about it, or another parent might not know about it.”
Action News Jax reached out to DCPS to learn if anyone reported injuries during either incident. A spokesperson said she could not answer because of a pending investigation.
The same spokesperson did say one of the paraprofessionals has been reassigned to duties outside of the school, pending the outcome of the investigation. The other paraprofessional has not been reassigned and is still working with First Coast High School.
Paraprofessionals provide support for teachers in classrooms and but are not required to be licensed teachers.
Watch CBS47 at 6 for the latest on this developing story.
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