As parents waited in the rain Tuesday to pick up their kids from the Pine School in Stuart, many of them were talking about what was found Monday inside the girls' locker room, a hidden video camera.
"You don't expect that sort of thing at a private school obviously. It's pretty sick you know," said parent Bob Davis.
Officer Mike Pope of the Stuart Police Department said when the 6th grade girls discovered it, they turned it over to a school staff member.
Shortly after, the girls asked the principal if he had gotten the camera. He hadn't, so the principal immediately found the employee the girls had initially alerted, and got the device.
"We do have an employee who is not a faculty member or an administrator who is on administrative leave," said Phyllis Parker, the interim Head of School.
According to the school, that employee was escorted off campus for violating procedures because he didn't make administrators aware of the device after he first got it from the girls.
Thorough searches were conducted on both the Lower Campus in Stuart and on the Upper Campus in Hobe Sound and no other recording devices were found.
Upper School student Karlee Davis said, "Everyone was a little scared and a little shocked."
A detective was on the Lower School campus Tuesday, and is being made available for parents who have questions.
"Be patient with Stuart police as they continue to do legally what they need to do and we will provide appropriate details and updates in a timely manner," added Parker.
No arrests have been made yet and the employee who was escorted off campus has not been identified.
Police have not said what, if anything, was recorded or how long the camera may have been hidden in the locker room.
School's email to parents:
Thank you for your patience with the Stuart Police Department investigation of yesterday's incident on the Stuart campus. The safety and well-being of our student body is always our primary concern, and the Stuart Police Department has our full support and cooperation as they investigate this matter.
There are several details we can share with you at this time. First, the suspected owner of the device found in the girls' locker room is a member of our maintenance staff and not a faculty member or administrator. Upon learning of the incident yesterday, we immediately notified the Stuart Police and will continue to provide them with our assistance. The individual in question will not be on campus.
While this incident is understandably the subject of press attention, camera crews are not allowed on our campus and no children are being filmed. We have a great working relationship with the local media currently on scene, and they are sensitive to the nature of the investigation as well as its effects on our school family.
Again, while the investigation is active, questions should be directed to Stuart Police Department Detective Heather Rothe at 772-220-3923 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to speak with you to the extent possible at any time. Feel free to email or call me with questions.
We will continue to provide timely updates as the investigation continues.
Head of School