Administrators at Deane Bozeman School are hoping a community meeting Tuesday night will provide some closure to a recent sex scandal, and prevent another one from happening. School officials called the meeting in response to the recent arrest of a teacher accused of sexually abusing students.
Bay County Sheriff's Investigators say they've identified a total of six current or former Bozeman students who accuse Eighth Grade Social Studies Teacher, William Crews, of sexually abusing them. Tuesday night, administrators called the incident "an extremely painful crisis" and are trying to prevent future abuse.
Michelle Bilyk is both a Deane Bozeman parent and employee. One of the cafeteria worker's children is a Bozeman senior, the other a third grader. Her family knew William Crews as a teacher and a co-worker.
"My oldest child was actually in one of his classes years ago. My youngest is the one I’m mainly concerned with because of course she'll be here for a few more years," said Bilyk.
Bilyk is one of several concerned parents who attended Tuesday night's community meeting organized by school administrators. They heard from Bay County's Coordinator for the sexual abuse treatment program, Laura Hamm, about signs of abuse.
"A lot of times it's someone who wants to spend a lot of time with your child. Who prefers to be with children rather than adults, who likes to take your children and give you a break," said Laura Hamm.
But Bilyk and other parents also say they want more answers about Crews, specifically about a complaint filed by a parent against him in 1999, before he was a teacher. Crews was not charged, so it never showed up in his pre-employment background check.
"I think it should have been a little more in depth," said Bilyk.
Parents wish that would have come up before Crews was hired as a teacher.
"Some things happen that are out of our control," said Principal of Deane Bozeman, Josh Balkom.
Balkom say he's now focusing on the things he can control.
"The purpose of this meeting was to inform our community and give them some things to look for in our children and some things for our teachers to look for in the classroom to help prevent situations like this from occurring in the future," said Balkom.