A Fort Walton Beach, Florida, elementary school teacher is facing criminal charges for allegedly abusing special needs students at the school.
According to an arrest report obtained by the Northwest Florida Daily News, Kenwood Elementary School teacher Marilynn Stillions, 59, is accused of spraying vinegar in children’s mouths as punishment, using her foot to push or move a student, and kneeing a student in the chin “with enough force to move his head each time she struck him.”
One of the students Stillions is accused of abusing is Noah Perillo, 6, who was non-verbal at the time. The child’s father, Eddie Perillo, told the local paper that he learned his child may have been terrorized by Stillions after obtaining a 2015-2016 “Investigative Summary Report” from the school in March 2017.
Eddie said he cried while reading the report. He also said the documents explained why his young son became aggressive and afraid of spray bottles used to wash his hair.
The outraged father turned the report over to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), which led authorities to launch their own criminal investigation in May 2017.
Reports indicated that the special needs teacher transferred to another school during the 2016-2017 school year. However, she was placed on administrative leave in March, after information about the investigation was publicized, according to the local paper.
In addition to Stillions, former principal Angelyn Vaughan and ex-school investigator Arden Farley, 70, (pictured top, bottom right) were also arrested Wednesday in connection with the alleged incidents. They are accused of being aware of the possible abuse but failing to report it to the Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline, as required by state law, according to WEAR.
The pair is charged with failure to report suspected child abuse. Stillions is facing four counts of child abuse with great bodily harm.
“Even though charges are coming out a year later, there will be justice for my son and every other student or kid that was mistreated or abused in the school district that was covered up.”
“I think they essentially covered up the abuse to protect themselves and their teachers,” Eddie told the Northwest Florida Daily News.
“Hopefully this brings to light what’s been going on and puts a stop to it. Changes need to be made.”
Featured Image: Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office