FMB school cancels Christmas program over threat concerns

Reporter: Kristi Gross Photographer: Alex Cook
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla.- The Lee County School District has cancelled a grade school play after they say a parent has been harassing school staff.

A students tells WINK News Fort Myers Beach Elementary School also shut down all club and after school activities, Thursday.

Students at Fort Myers Beach Elementary will have to perform their program during school, Friday. No parents will be allowed in, instead they will post the performance on the school’s website at a later date. FMB Elementary student Kyah Geisler says it won’t be the same.

“We’ve been practicing so much for it. I was super excited for it,” says Kyah. “My grandpa just came and I really wanted him to come see it.”

The decision comes after Joseph Gilberti, the father of a student, is accused of continually harassing employees at the school, video taping them and posting the videos online. The district says the harassment escalated when he walked into classroom during class to confront a teach while filming it.

Jessica Dilley has a child that attends the school. She tells WINK News Gilberti later caused a scene outside a second campus nearby.

“I remember coming to school two days ago and there were police everywhere and he was making a huge scene, screaming,” says Dilley.

The incident prompted the district to site Gilberti for trespassing, ban him from campus and cancel the student’s performance.

“It’s frustrating. it’s not fair to us,” says Dilley. “We went out specifically and bought shirts and for this and was looking forward to it and now we cant enjoy that time with our family.”

“At the end of the day, me and my granddaughter’s safety is the most important thing,” says Mark Geisler, who was coming to see his granddaughter perform.

Gilberti was previously arrested for stalking in an unrelated case. The incident has prompted questions about school security. Parents disagree about whether cancelling the show was the right move.

Dilley believes cancelling the play was going to far, instead she says she would have like to see officers at the performance to make sure Gilberti couldn’t get in. Dilley says the school should be doing more to keep kids safe.

“They need to monitor who’s coming in and out,” says Dilley.

However, Mark Geisler disagrees. He says it’s better safe than sorry.

“It’s important to act and not re-act,” says Mark. “So I’m sure they’ll do what they need to do to make sure that the place is both safe and secure and at the same time isn’t like a jail.”

“At the end of the day, me and my granddaughter’s safety is the most important thing and even though I don’t have privy to all of the facts, better safe than sorry.”

“The district security staff and law enforcement are aware of and monitoring this issue,” said Lee County Schools Spokesperson Amity Chandler.

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