JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Duval County School Board members are taking action in the wake of a scathing report that the former school police chief intentionally under-reported and hid crimes on campus. The board met Thursday morning.
The Grand Jury report unsealed Friday finds between 2016 and 2020, Former Schools Police Chief Michael Edwards, who resigned early last year, directed officers not to treat incidents of batter on a school employee as a crime. The Grand Jury looked at more than 2,600 information reports and found most of them were felonies and not reported that way.
The Duval School County Board is bringing in the Florida Department of Education's Office of Safe Schools, which will basically do an audit to make sure the district is on the right track to stop this from happening again.
School board Chair Darryl Willie says they'll also be partnering with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement, taking a look at training and having people who are involved in the disciplinary process meet often to check for data discrepancies.
Willie also says Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene, who joined the district in 2018, made changes that have schools on the right track already.
Willie says he didn't know about the allegations against Edwards before the Grand Jury report.
"If you really look at what happened, we were always reporting the incidents that were happening," Willie said. "So regardless of if they weren't reported as criminal offenses or what not on that level, they were still facing code of conduct within our schools. So you weren't seeing students just go back into the classroom. You were seeing them face code of conduct and consequences from us."
Other school board members made recommendations and said they want to come up with more plans of action soon.