A teen accused of raping a woman at a bus stop is out of jail on house arrest but a judge has cleared the way for him to return to class at his Coconut Creek high school, where parents are upset with the decision and are speaking out ahead of a town hall meeting.
The parents are up in arms over Gibson Silvain, a 19-year-old accused rapist who is back attending Monarch High School. According to an arrest report, Silvain is accused of raping a woman at a bus bench last Halloween. Records show evidence on the victim's sweater matched Silvain's DNA.
After his arrest in August, a judge allowed him to go back to school while he awaits trial, between the hours of 6:20 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
"I don’t agree for him allowed back at the school. The judge did wrong," parent Janice Crespo said. “When it comes to something like that, that’s something serious that they should’ve thought about. There’s other kids here that hopefully nothing does happen, you know, God forbid something does happen. If something would happen to my daughter, I mean I don’t know what I would do.”
"It is a little bit alarming for me, even with a son who is in 11th grade," parent Mara Garcia said. "Still, we depend on the school to keep our children safe.”
Some students who know Silvain are defending him.
"I feel like they’re overreacting. I feel like if he was guilty, if it’s proven that he is guilty, I’m like 'OK, he shouldn’t come here,'" said one student, who didn't want to be identified. "But it’s innocent until proven guilty so I think he should be allowed to be here still."
At Silvain's home Wednesday, a family member who answered the door didn't want to comment. Silvain's next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 21.
"Broward County Public Schools is committed to providing safe and secure learning environments for all students," Broward County Public Schools said in a statement Wednesday. "The District is required to follow laws governing students’ educational rights. Due to student privacy, the District is unable to confirm student enrollment or provide student specific information.”
The topic is expected to come up at Wednesday night's previously-scheduled town hall meeting for parents.