COCONUT CREEK, FLA. (WSVN) - A high school student accused of raping a woman is returning to class, and parents aren’t happy about it.
A judge has allowed 19-year-old Gibson Sylvain to attend classes at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek before his trial.
Some parents said they are concerned about the situation. “I think it’s disgusting, and my daughter should not be nervous to come to her school,” said one mother.
Another parent was in disbelief. “I think it is horrible. I think it is very scary, and it upsets me,” she said, “and being allowed to be back in school? No! I think that disturbs me.”
They said they don’t know why a judge would allow the 19-year-old, who is accused of raping a woman at a Coconut Creek bus stop, to attend school while he’s out of jail on house arrest.
“If we don’t stick up for our children, who will?” said another parent.
“Right. We are here to protect our children,” said another. “Like I said before, my daughter should not be afraid to ask for a pass to go to the bathroom.”
According to Coconut Creek Police, the attack happened near U.S. 441 and West Hillsboro Boulevard in 2016.
Police said Sylvain forced a woman to the ground behind the bus stop and raped her. They said she tried to use pepper spray on him and was able to get away to call police from a nearby Wal-Mart.
Investigators said DNA later connected the student to the crime.
“It’s scary. Who knows if something could happen between classes,” said parent Melanie Best.
Syvlain was initially locked up and then put on house arrest with a GPS tracking device.
His attorney asked a judge to allow him to come back to school while he waits for his trial on sexual battery charges.
Judge William Haury, Jr. ordered that the “defendant is allowed to attend Monarch High School … from 6:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.”
Some parents said there are alternatives to Syvlain’s education. “What the judge should have done, in my opinion, was give him online courses,” one said.
“I don’t think he should be here,” said another. “Not until there is some type of an answer, until the truth comes out.”
Ron Ishoy, a spokesman with the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, said the prosecutor handling the case wasn’t in the courtroom when Judge Haury made his decision.
He also said, “The case prosecutor came back into the courtroom, provided additional information to the court and asked the court to reconsider its decision citing our concern for the safety of the people of Broward County. but the judge refused…”
Now parents at theichool are warning their kids to be on alert. “Be careful. Go to the restrooms with a girlfriend. Don’t move about alone,” said one woman.
One parent said she was upset with the school district because they were not notified. The district said that they take student safety very seriously and that it’s their top priority. They said they cannot comment further because of student privacy.
Judge Haury’s assistant told 7News that they cannot comment on a pending case, but they pointed out that the suspect has another hearing at the end of November.
Parents have scheduled a community meeting for Wednesday with the main concern being safety.
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