By Lorenz Duchamps
A transgender teacher at a Florida middle school was allowed to remain on campus for several weeks after allegedly making disturbing comments about shooting students and “having bad thoughts.”
In a statement released Friday, the Florida Department of Education responded to the situation regarding student safety at Fox Chapel Middle School in Hernando County, saying the teacher, Ashlee Renczkowski, has been removed from the school.
The department noted that the removal happened only after state officials raised their concerns with Hernando County School District Superintendent John Stratton on Wednesday evening.
According to an incident report obtained by parental rights group “Moms for Liberty,” a school resource officer temporarily assigned to Fox Chapel Middle School was notified by Assistant Principal Kerry Thornton and Guidance Counselor Kimberly Walby on March 24 regarding Renczkowski making “concerning statements about self-harm” and possibly shooting students.
Thornton was alerted to the situation after visiting Renczkowski’s classroom and asking the teacher how the day was going, according to the report.
“Not good, I’m having bad thoughts,” Renczkowski responded. The report also noted that the teacher is a biological male and is “currently in the transformation stage of becoming a woman.”
Thornton then contacted Walby to tell the guidance counselor that Renczkowski was on the way to her office to talk. During the conversation, Renczkowski expressed having suicidal thoughts and a desire “to shoot some students due to them not performing to their ability.” The teacher also admitted to owning three firearms, which police have since removed from Renczkowski’s home.
However, after Renczkowski made the comments, the teacher immediately went on to say that he “would never harm a student” and also stated that he does not want to inflict self-harm, according to the report.
Renczkowski, whose wife, Fawn, also works at the middle school, also talked about being upset after learning about a social media post where people allegedly “talked negatively” about the couple’s sexual orientation and lifestyle.
The teacher also mentioned becoming triggered at times by students in the fourth-period class “not performing to their abilities” and “not trying to pass their class,” explaining further that he “does not want to see them fail.”
On March 27, Renczkowski was appointed to undergo therapy with the school district’s mental health coordinator, Sandra Hurst, who conducted a threat assessment and determined that the teacher did not meet the criteria of the Baker Act, under which police may take a person into custody and subject them to psychiatric examination if there is a likelihood that the person will harm themselves or others.
“The investigation revealed that no criminal offense(s) occurred; therefore, no arrest(s) could be made,” a public relations manager for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) told the Daily Caller in a statement. “In an abundance of caution, the HCSO petitioned the court for a temporary Risk Protection Order (RPO). The order was granted immediately. The individual cooperated with law enforcement and immediately turned over all firearms.”
In a public statement issued on April 13, Stratton also confirmed that Renczkowski has been removed from “all student contact,” noting the teacher is fully cooperating with the investigation.
“In light of this additional information, the school district will continue to investigate the incident and require further involvement by mental health experts,” the statement reads. “As part of our investigation, we will take a hard look at all the actions that were taken on that day, and in the days following the incident, and determine if any steps were missed.”
“The school district has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and resources toward implementing outstanding school safety protocols,” it added. “As part of our safety practice, conclusions drawn from this incident may lead to consideration of additional safeguards.”
Since the community learned about the potential threat, multiple concerned parents have spoken out, stressing that they believe the teacher should have never been allowed to remain at the school.
“Anybody that makes a comment like that should not be working in a school,” Mike Martini, a parent of a Fox Chapel student, told FOX13. “If a student made that comment there would be charges pressed. The child would be expelled.”
Aramis Rosario, a parent of another student attending the school told the network: “I was told that the teacher had stated they were going to shoot the kids and they were going to then kill themselves.”
“My heart dropped the moment that I heard that it was confirmed that there were actual weapons inside of the household,” he added.
From NTD News