Gov. DeSantis suspends Okaloosa County Superintendent following child abuse probe

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis suspended Okaloosa County School District Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson Friday following a two-year investigation into child abuse and failure to report child abuse within the district.

The investigation stemmed from a child abuse case involving an autistic boy who was allegedly abused by his teacher in 2015.

The boy was allegedly thrown to the ground, kicked, and sprayed with vinegar.

In October, former Kenwood Elementary teacher Marlynn Stillions was convicted of abusing the boy who during the 2015-16 school year was a 4-year-old nonverbal autistic child in her care.

A grand jury later reviewed allegations from special needs children that accused school faculty of kicking, throwing children to the ground, spraying children with vinegar and even withholding food as forms of punishment.

The investigation led to the arrest and conviction of four people including, former assistant superintendent Stacy Smith, former school principal Angelyn Vaughan and district investigator Arden Farley and Stillions.

Jackson faces no criminal charges, but her behavior and “inconsistent statements” concerned the grand jury.

Gov. DeSantis appointed current district Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Marcus Chambers as Jackson’s replacement.

According to reports, parents in the district support the governor’s decision.

Chambers will serve as superintendent until the next election.

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