DCF Investigates Inappropriate Touching At Mims Elementary
By Ed Pierce, Managing Editor // March 7, 2013
Kindergarten Teacher Resigns
BREVARD COUNTY • MIMS, FLORIDA – An alleged incident of inappropriate touching in a kindergarten classroom by students at Mims Elementary School is under investigation by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
At a press conference Thursday morning at the Brevard Public Schools offices in Viera, school officials acknowledged that a formal DCF investigation has been launched and it centers upon inappropriate behaviors exhibited in one classroom involving 16 students at the school.
“The district is in full cooperation with an investigation by DCF of an incident alleged to have taken place at Mims Elementary,” said Michelle Irwin, director of communications for Brevard Public Schools.
Irwin said because of the confidential nature of the investigation, she was not able to reveal specific details of the alleged behavior, which may have taken place for more than a month and was committed by students in the classroom.
She said a meeting with law enforcement, DCF and school representatives and Shari Tressler, Mims Elementary principal, was held at the school on Wednesday night with parents of the students involved and a letter was sent home last Friday informing them of the investigation.
Irwin said the teacher of the students, Rebekah S. Harm of Titusville, submitted her resignation on Feb. 27, two days before the school was notified by DCF about the investigation.
According to Irwin, Harm’s resignation was related to performance issues and not because of the investigation.
Harm was hired to teach kindergarten at Mims Elementary in September on a provisional basis.
She served as a short-term 4th Grade teacher at Enterprise Elementary School in Cocoa from February to May 2011 and is a 2010 graduate of the University of Central Florida.
The letter sent home to parents reads as follows:
March 5, 2013
I am writing this letter to inform you about a situation that is alleged to have occurred in your child’s classroom. Although this is a confidential investigation, I wanted to make you aware as the Department of Children and Family Services in coordination with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation and has spoken with every student your child’s classroom.
Because the investigation is still open, details cannot be provided at this time. However, I would like to provide you with the names of the investigators should you want to contact them directly: Ms. XXX XXX, Title, Department of Children and Family Services at #$%-#$%^ or Agent XXX XXX, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office at $%^_)(*&.
The Mims Elementary School staff and I are supporting the investigation and our students in every way possible. I want to thank you for your support and as more information becomes available that I am able to share, I will provide it as soon as possible.
Shari Tressler, Principal