A transgender Hernando County teacher who talked about shooting students was released this week after the school district initially refused to hand down any disciplinary action.

Florida Lawmakers Seek Parental Notification Law About Past Crimes And Mental Health Cases In Class

Fox Chapel Middle School
A transgender Hernando County teacher who talked about shooting students was released after the school district initially refused to hand down any disciplinary action.

Republican lawmakers in Florida seek to force educators to be open about criminal or mental health incidents in their past so that parents can be better informed about who is educating their children.

The measure is named after a school superintendent who, earlier this year, allowed a trans-identifying teacher back into the classroom after he talked about wanting to shoot some of his students.

According to the Florida Standard, Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, and Rep. John Temple, R-Wildwood, each filed a version of “Stratton’s Law,” which is named for Hernando County Public Schools Superintendent John Stratton.

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The bill would require risk protection orders to identify the recipient if he or she is a public school employee.

RPOs are court orders that allow law enforcement to seize guns from people deemed a danger to themselves or others. The seizure is done under what is commonly known as a “red flag law.”

Stratton’s Law would also mandate that teachers notify the school district of any prior arrests or criminal records, even if their records have been expunged.

As the Tampa Free Press reported in April, Ashlee Renczkowski, a biological man who identifies as a woman and a former math teacher at Fox Chapel Middle School, was removed from the classroom for a comment to a colleague about poor-performing students.

But that only happened after the local Moms for Liberty chapter exposed the incident and obtained a copy of a Sheriff’s Office report about the alleged threat.

The teacher told another faculty member that “he wanted to shoot some students due to them not performing to their ability,” deputies reported, but then immediately added that he “would never harm a student.”

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Yet Renczkowski told deputies about experiencing “phases of depression and (being) on medication for depression.” The teacher also admitted to having three guns at home.

The district investigated and determined that Renczkowski was venting “frustration at student behavior.” Stratton green-lit Renczkowski’s return to the classroom following the law enforcement probe.

The teacher was later removed from contact with students after the incident gained national attention. Parents only found out because a news reporter got wind of it. The reporter claimed that the school district and the Sheriff’s Office initially denied anything happened.

Sen. Ingoglia told The Florida Standard that Stratton’s handling of the Fox Chapel incident was the “main driver for the bill.”

“We named it after the superintendent who foolishly let that teacher back in the classroom,” he said.

The senator also called Stratton the “poster child for bad governance.”

Ingoglia and Temple both called for Stratton to be fired over the Fox Chapel incident.  

Ingoglia noted that in 2021, Stratton faced criticism after parents were not informed of an elementary school teacher who was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault on a child. That included not informing them of whether the teacher was in contact with students.

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