VENICE, Fla. -- A history teacher at a charter school in Venice is under investigation according to the Venice Police Department. The attorney for an alleged victim says the allegations are of a “sexual nature.”
In a statement to 10News WTSP, Police Chief Tom Mattmuller says, "We are currently investigating a teacher from the Island Village Montessori School. The teacher has been placed on administrative leave."
IVM Principal Jason Hunter confirmed Matt Minton is the teacher under investigation. Hunter says Minton is a U.S. history and government teacher for 7th-11th graders. He’s been employed for 3 years and has a clean record, says Hunter.
“I think it’s disgusting,” says Dreck Sawrum, a parent.
GianLuca Milareo, whose children attend IVM, says, ”I’m in shock. I bring my kids here for the safety.”
Jeff Young, the attorney for the alleged victim and her family says, "I represent an alleged victim and their family. An allegation has been made against this individual who works at the school of a sexual nature. It has been reported to the proper authorities at the Venice Police Department and an investigation has been opened and is ongoing. The family asks for privacy and understanding in this matter. They look forward to the justice system working properly.”
One of Minton’s students and her grandmother say they don’t believe the allegations.
"He’s a great teacher personally to me he’s like an uncle to me … so nice and kind,” says Megan Falcon, one of Minton’s students.
“I think the world of him. He’s a gentleman,” says Phyllis Breeden," Megan’s grandmother. Breeden also says the email to families was premature and should have been sent out after the investigation was completed.
Breeden says the principal sent an email home to families this afternoon explaining why Minton was not teaching. Breeden says Hunter indicated a former student made the allegations against him.
Sawrum says schools should do better background checks on teachers. He thinks all teachers should undergo a psychological evaluation.
”Even if they have this deep inside, the tendency to do that psychological evaluation will help bring that out if you have the right psychologist,” says Sawrum.
Milareo disagrees. He says, “No one is perfect. You can do all the testing in the world. There will always be that one person.”
His message to teachers today, “You guys do a good job. Keep our kids safe.”
Minton has been placed on paid administrative leave. 10News reached out to him by phone and through Facebook but he did not reply. Minto did speak with the Sarasota Herald Tribune and reportedly told them he did nothing wrong and is cooperating with police.