CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – We’re two days away from Clay County schools starting and there have been concerns popping up after two high-profile arrests of district employees.
Earlier this month, a bus driver, Marion Keith Nichols, 56, of Green Cove Springs, was arrested and charged with child pornography charges. Then on Wednesday, an Oakleaf High School teacher, Francesco Franzese, 25, of Hilliard, was arrested and charged with unlawful sex with an underage student.
Nichols and Franzese are off the job while the Sheriff’s Office investigates their alleged crimes. But parents are now raising concerns, wondering how rigorous the security screenings are for people who work with children.
“Nobody wants your children going to school with someone that does something like that,” parent, Lequandria (no last name given), said.
“Hopefully, when they’re hired on there’s extensive background checks if you’re around children of any kind,” parent, Clay Beasely, said.
News4Jax spoke with Clay County Schools Superintendent Addison Davis about what the district does to ensure employees who work with children are safe.
“We have a rigorous vetting process of how we hire our candidates,” Davis said. “We make sure every candidate is fingerprinted through the national FBI database, along with the FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) database in order to determine if there’s any arrest violation that’s against a statute.”
Davis said the employees will be dealt with immediately once the police investigations are over. He also implored parents to keep track of what their children are doing online and with social media, which was an issue in the arrest of Franzese. Investigators said the father found inappropriate text messages on his daughter’s phone.
“Parents, I urge you to please understand what your kids are actively doing every single day. Please monitor their cell…