Students at Northside school allege abuse

Superintendent of school says it was all an accident

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local private school is in hot water with parents after four different children accuse a staff member of assaulting them.

The students said they were kicked and hit Thursday by a man who's worked at the school for several years. Channel 4 is not naming him at this time because he hasn't been arrested.

Police are now investigating what happened at Cornerside Neighborhood School on Grand Avenue on the Northside.

The students said they're scared to go back. The parents said this child abuse, and the staffer, needs to go. But the superintendent of the school said it was all an accident.

"He walked up on the side of me and kicked me on the back with the back of his heel," said student Florintino Rivers.

Rivers, 10, said he doesn't know why, but he said when the school worker did it, it hurt and now he's frightened.

"I was up all night, I couldn't even go to sleep last night," Rivers said.

He told his mother, Dtalya Barrett, who in turn called police.

"I brought my kids here from a public school and put them in a Christian-based school to keep them from being bullied, and to hear they're being bullied by a school official, that's crazy," said Barrett.

An 11-year-old boy, whose mother asked to not show his face, told Channel 4 a similar story about the same person.

"He had came and he just kicked me in the face right here and as he kicked me, he said no talking," the boy said.

The boy's mom, Gina Garner, is furious.

"Fear went from 0 to 10 because here we sent our children to school to be protected by the school and to be taught and to learn, and to hear they're assaulted by a school official is insane," said Garner.

When police arrived, two other students told them about incidents they said happened with the same man.

A girl said he "walked past her and pushed her in the chest," and another said the man "kicked open a door and the door struck in the middle of her back and shoulder area."

According to the police report, an officer couldn't see any physical signs of injuries on any of the kids.

"Once we found out that something did transpire, we acted on it," said Dr. Kenneth W. Brockington. "So we did not circumvent it, or sweep it under the rug, and we're still gonna work to find out exactly what happened."

Brockington, who is Cornerstone Neighborhood School's superintendent, said he's only been told about one of the incidents, but the school's launched an investigation. He said the worker remains on the job.

"JSO did come this morning and interviewed the staff member. There wasn't anything if it did happen as far as malicious intent, it was accidental," said Brockington. "With that number of kids at that age group, honestly all kinds of things were happening."

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it's still investigating, but so far, the man has not been arrested or charged with anything. The parents said they are going to keep pushing for him to be held responsible for what they said he did.

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