New principal talks ideas for high school rocked by scandal

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Principal Edward Mathews is taking his new role at South Fort Myers High School step by step, but he knows that the sex scandal that rocked the district before the school year ended will have many eyes on his performance.

A girl was discovered having sex with a number of boys in a bathroom after school hours and the ordeal was recorded and put on social media, which attracted international attention to Lee County and its schools. Documents show that the girl’s mother questioned former principal, Melissa Layner, about school security. Email records also show that the issue of security was raised several months before the incident.

Layner will be transferred to another Lee County School as Mathews looks to build South Fort Myers High School after it was nearly crushed by the scrutiny of millions.

“It’s an event that occurred in the history of this school that we need to address but I think that more important, I’m concerned about the students’ success,” Mathews said.

Mathews said more security measures are being looked at, including a more consistent implementation of bathroom and hall monitors.

“We have to look at each situation separately, find out what made the situation occur and to make sure that we do not allow any of the things that happened in that situation to occur again for something to be negative,” he said.

The permanency of content shared online is another priority Mathews hopes to share as a lesson to students.

“Make sure they understand that what they put out on the web stays on the web and that we need to put as much positive on the web as we can as opposed to something negative,” he said.

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