Teacher reportedly battered at TrueCore

OKEECHOBEE — A local teacher was injured Monday, Sept. 9, at TrueCore Youth Correctional Center after two youths allegedly punched him in the face. Jarahmeel King, 15, and Jerek Nico Orrand, 16, were arrested and charged with battery on a public or private education employee. Both were taken to the Okeechobee County Jail for processing and then transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Fort Pierce.

Jerek Nico Orrand

Okeechobee County Deputy Sheriff Nathaniel Mitchell responded to a call pertaining to an assault/battery on staff complaint on Monday morning. When he arrived, he spoke with the teacher who told him he had been in his office preparing for his class when the two boys entered his office and asked for a pencil and paper. The teacher handed each boy paper and pencil and told them to leave, but they both stood there smiling at him. The teacher again asked the boys to leave and received the same response. At that point, he said he went to the door to let them out, and King punched him in the left eye. He said, before he could respond, Orrand punched him on the left side of his face, and both boys approached him again but he was able to open the door and leave the office to call for assistance.

Jarahmeel King

Deputy Mitchell noted he did see redness and swelling in the areas where the teacher said he was struck.

The fact that a teacher could be assaulted in broad daylight raises a lot of questions. When asked the following questions:

  1. Is it normal for the youths to be able to enter a teacher’s office without any staff accompanying them?
  2. If the youths do normally have staff with them, where were the staff?
  3. How long were these youths unaccounted for? If this had been a female teacher, what if their intent had been to rape her? Do you have female teachers? Nurses?
  4. Have there been any steps put in place to make sure this does not happen again?
  5. The man who was assaulted is a teacher, not trained as a correctional officer. How safe is your facility for these untrained people?
  6. Do you have actual corrections officers? How many youths per trained officer?
  7. Will those youths be sent back to the teacher’s classroom?
  8. What type of punishment do you get if you assault someone but you are already in a youth prison?

Jack Eich of TrueCore replied, “with regard to the youth on staff assault that occurred on Sept. 9, 2019 at the Okeechobee Youth Development Center, the two youths involved in the incident have been transferred to the sheriff’s detention facility. No serious injuries occurred as a result of the incident. TrueCore does not comment on personnel matters as it relates to our employees.”

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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