JROTC instructor accused of pushing Fort Myers Senior High School student, district denies claims

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia
Published: Updated:
Outside of Fort Myers Senior High School. (Credit: WINK News)
Outside of Fort Myers Senior High School. (Credit: WINK News)

A freshman at Fort Myers Senior High School said her JROTC instructor pushed her on the first day of school.

The freshman, who requested anonymity, said her first week of classes were not what she expected.

“So he comes to me, puts his arm around me and physically pulls me to come to where he was standing before,” the girl said. “I was very uncomfortable because no one had ever done that to me before.”

The School District of Lee County denies the student’s version of events happened. The class, which is called “Leadership education and training 1,” is taught by the JROTC instructor. But the student said she quickly learned the class would be much more rigorous.

“If you don’t get into your formation on time,” she said, “then you would have to go down and do push ups.”

When the student tried to switch out of the class, the school said it was a requirement. Fort Myers High School uses the class to fill the state mandated, “Character development course.”

The district spokesman told WINK News the class is a leadership course and does not require physical activity, nor is it a JROTC class.

But the student’s parents said liability forms given to students say otherwise.

A document the student’s dad shared with us states, “give the JROTC program permission to share my daughters information with the United States military.”

It asks them to “assume responsibility for all risk involved for any and all injuries incurred… in activities being sponsored by the JROTC department.”

Another form asks permission to release the record of the cadet’s progress to the U.S. Army.

The parents are now in the process of setting up a meeting with the principal with their attorney present.

“I felt helpless,” Julio Mejia, parent, said. “I felt like my daughter needed help and there’s nothing I could do for her. I told her she’s not going to that class. We’ll take her out of that class every day until you change the schedule.”

“I wanted to meet new friends get to know my teachers,” the student said. “But them not allowing us traditional ninth graders to have the option is heartbreaking.”

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