OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County Schools Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace addressed Friday how the district has been communicating with parents after a substitute teacher was charged with molesting at least six elementary school girls.
Osceola County Schools substitute teacher Fnu Syedyaseen-Asher, 19, has been charged with nine counts of lewd or lascivious molestation on suspicion of inappropriately touching six girls. Asher admitted to doing so in classrooms at Boggy Creek Elementary School, Mill Creek Elementary School and Flora Ridge Elementary School, according to the arrest warrant.
Pace told reporters she and other school administrators first learned about the allegations on March 1 when a law enforcement officer notified an administrator. School officials personally contacted more than 200 parents and guardians of all students who had direct contact with the suspect.
Initially, the information released to the public about Asher's arrest was that all incidents happened at Boggy Creek Elementary School. The superintendent said the district waited until Tuesday to release the full list of nine schools where Asher acted as a substitute at the request of law enforcement.
“We were cooperating with law enforcement at that time and we released that information when we were told we could do so," she said.
It was also on Tuesday, Pace said, that school district officials learned Asher had admitted to touching girls at other schools.
"As of today, the Sheriff’s Office has not released to us the names of the victims in order to protect the victim's rights," Pace said.
In total, school officials said Asher taught at nine schools, from kindergarten to eighth grade. He taught multiple subjects and admitted to touching girls at three of the nine schools.
Pace could not provide specifics about how many students Asher came in contact with.
"The sheer number of students he may have had contact with" prevents district officials from calling everyone personally, Pace said.
Asked if school principals and administrators can check in on substitute teachers throughout the day, Pace said they can but that all classroom doors are locked as part of new school security measures enacted after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year.
Pace also addressed questions about the 19-year-old suspect's status as a green card holder working at the school system.
"We cannot deny employment based on the fact that someone has a green card," Pace said, adding the Asher passed a level-2 background screening of his criminal past.
Detectives with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office are still interviewing other possible victims. More than 120 students so far have spoken with officers.
According to district personnel files, Asher also taught students at the Islamic Center of Osceola County. The dean told school district hiring personnel that Asher is "very good with kids."
News 6 stopped by and called the center to see if the dean had any comment or if any students came forward following the allegations, but our messages have not been returned.
Below is a list of exact classes, grades and dates Asher taught and the number of kids in each of those classes:
Boggy Creek Elementary:
- 2/21/19: Dual language class, 1st grade – 14 students.
- 2/28/19: Dual language class, 2nd grade – 18 students.
Central Avenue Elementary:
- 1/16/19: Math and science, 4th grade – 18 students in the morning, 20 students in the afternoon.
- 1/23/19: 1st grade – 20 students, pre-K lunch and planning – 19 students, KG – 18 students.
- 2/6/19: 2nd grade – 19 students.
- 2/20/19: KG – 17 students.
Flora Ridge Elementary:
- 2/12/19: KG – 21 students.
- 2/18/19: Math & Science, 5th grade – 22 students in the morning, 22 students in the afternoon, six intervention students.
- 2/14/19: Music, kindergarten through fifth grades – 107 students.
Pleasant Hill Elementary:
- 1/22/19: 5th grade – 18 students in the morning, 22 students in the afternoon, 6 triple I students.
- 2/8/19: 1st grade – 18 students.
- 12/18/18: STEM engineering, 6th, 7th, 8th grades – 137 students.
- 12/20/18: Math, 7th grade – 101 students.
- 1/11/19: Band/chorus, 6th, 7th, 8th grades – 134 students.
- 2/1/19: Intensive reading, 8th grade – 107 students.
- 1/18/19: Science and language arts, 5th grade – 63 students.
- 1/15/19: English language arts, 6th grade – 134 students.
Mill Creek Elementary:
- 1/9/19: 1st grade – 21 students.