Parents upset with school district's response after trans teacher said he wanted to shoot students

Students sit in a high school classroom.
Students sit in a high school classroom. | Reuters/Stephane Mahe

Parents dissatisfied with how a Florida school district handled a situation involving a trans-identified teacher who allegedly said he wanted to shoot himself and students are calling for Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education to take action.

During a March 24 meeting, Fox Chapel Middle School teacher Alexander Renczkowski, a biological male who identifies as a female named Ashlee, reportedly informed Assistant Principal Kerry Anne Thornton that he was having "bad thoughts," according to Suncoast News.

The teacher was sent to speak with the guidance counselor, stating that he wanted to shoot some students failing to perform to the best of their ability. The teacher, who is taking hormones for gender transition, clarified that he would never harm a student. 

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

The comment was reported to the school resource officer. The officer concluded that Renczkowski made the comment out of frustration and "does not intend to hurt [himself] or anyone else." The officer also believes that Reczkowski's comment doesn't rise to the level of Florida's Baker Act, allowing people to be taken to a mental health institution for involuntary examination. 

The Hernando Sheriff's Office received a risk protection order, allowing officers to remove three handguns and ammunition from the teacher's home, according to Suncoast News. Renczkowski, who is married to a science teacher at the middle school, cooperated with the order. 

Some parents believe that the Hernando County School District failed to properly handle the incident and petitioned the Florida Department of Education to remove the teacher from the school.

The parents are also petitioning for the removal of Hernando County Schools Superintendent John Stratton, Chairman Gus Guadagnino, Vice Chair Susan Duval and District 2 member Linda Prescott. 

An online petition has received over 1,100 supporters as of Monday afternoon. The petition calls for Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, to step in and remove the individuals from their positions. 

"While parents were left in the dark, this teacher was placed right back into the classroom after a rushed investigation by the District. So for 17 days, this unstable individual (see the police report) was left around children, and parents were not notified," the online petition states. 

"The delay in notification was due to a 'cover-up' that involved District administration as well as ranking members of the School Board and other agencies."

On April 14, the Florida Department of Education tweeted that it had been informed about the situation at the Hernando County School District. The department disclosed that it brought the issue before the district's superintendent on April 12, with the district removing the teacher from the school, effective April 13. 

"Therefore, the teacher is no longer at the school," the department wrote. 

The Hernando County School District did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment.

According to a post last Monday on the school district's website, the district is conducting an ongoing investigation into the incident. The district released the report to combat what it calls "misinformation" about what took place.

The district clarified that the teacher's comment was not made in the presence of students and that a threat assessment was conducted by trained Safe Schools staff and the Hernando County Sheriff's Office (HCSO). 

The report confirmed that Renczkowski consented to a home check last month and that all investigating agencies agreed that the "teacher did not meet criteria for imminent harm to self or others." 

From March 27 to March 29, the teacher was not on the middle school campus and was not near the students. As the investigation continued, the teacher remained off-campus, according to the school district. 

"Hernando School District is committed to keeping students safe and will not only review this incident, but the steps that were taken to see if any corrective action is warranted in our policies or procedures," the district's statement reads. 

The teacher was removed from student contact the same day (March 27) a shooting was carried out at The Covenant School in Nashville by 28-year-old trans-identified shooter Audrey Hale.

Hale possessed a detailed map of the school and had been planning the attack for at least a month. The shooter was armed with two rifles and a handgun during the incident. 

The victims who died in the Nashville shooting were school head Katherine Koonce, 60; substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61; chef Mike Hill, 61; Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9; William Kenney, 9; and Hallie Scruggs, 9, the daughter of Pastor Chad Scruggs of Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Earlier this month in Colorado, a 19-year-old trans-identified suspect named William Whitworth was arrested on charges of planning to commit shootings at multiple schools and churches. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles