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Teacher Removed from Student Contact - Officials Can't Figure Out Who to Blame

SPRING HILL – On the heels of the Fox Chapel Middle School fiasco, School and Law Enforcement officials have done everything they can to pass the buck and shirk responsibility for how the situation was handled.

From the moment R News broke the story on the Adventure Coast Journal Facebook page, parents demanded answers as to why a teacher who made threats towards children was not removed, why they weren't immediately notified, and why officials waited two weeks to release statements.

Here's how the PIOs at HCSO responded to the community's concerns over our breaking story regarding Fox Chapel:

a. Blocked R News from the agency Facebook page so that he cannot view content, respond to comments, or defend against slanderous remarks made by the PIOs.

b. Change their responses from "We had nothing to do with the incident" to "We did not investigate" to "We did investigate and found no crime was committed" to "Contact the school board because we aren't responsible."

c. Yesterday they provided a full report on the incident, which proved they were fully involved in the investigation and even assisted in deciding whether or not to charge the teacher.

School Board PIO Karen Jordan blatantly lied to this reporter from day one stating, "Nothing happened," and then questioned our sources.

a. After Fox Chapel Principal provided a statement, the district backpaddled and said they couldn't release information because of privacy issues.

b. During a school board meeting the Superintendent advised that after a thorough investigation by HCSD and HCSO, the teacher was cleared and sent back to the classroom.

c. Today, Superintendent John Stratton reversed course and stated they received "new information" that wasn't available until today. As a result, the prompted them to remove the teacher from all student contact until further review.

Here is his statement:

This week, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office released more information regarding the incident involving a comment made by a Fox Chapel Middle School teacher on March 24. As part of that release details, not previously known by the school district, appear in conflict with information gathered at the time of the incident.

In light of this additional information, the school district will continue to investigate the incident and require further involvement by mental health experts. 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. As is our longstanding practice, while the matter is under investigation, the teacher will be removed from all student contact and, pending the outcome of the district's review, no date has been determined for a return to duty. The teacher continues to cooperate fully with district officials.

The school district has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and resources toward implementing outstanding school safety protocols. As part of our safety practice, conclusions drawn from this incident may lead to consideration of additional safeguards.

On behalf of the school district and school board, I want to assure the Fox Chapel family that we hear your concerns on this matter and that all actions will be taken to ensure the campus is safe.

Today, R News spoke to several Fox Chapel parents who say they removed their children due safety concerns. We also heard that some of those students transferred to West Hernando Middle School for the remainder of the school year.

Some of the other issues that have not been discussed is the direct relationship between Ashlee (Alexander) Renczkowski and a current deputy. You see, the teacher is related to Deputy Michael Renczkowski who's aunt happens to be a former president of Dawn Center. If you aren't aware of that controversy, search Behind the Gate by Tom Lemons and watch the documentary.

If not for our brave sources and subsequent report, none of this would have come to light, but instead of accepting responsibility for their failures and making changes, the leadership in Hernando County decided to slander the messenger and hope that the community would doubt his reports. These are your elected officials Hernando County.

It should be noted that Sheriff Al Nienhuis will be holding a press conference at the Sheriffs Office, located at 18900 Cortez Blvd, at 11:00am tomorrow morning to discuss several recent cases. The conference is open to the public if parents would like to attend and discuss the issue with Nienhuis.


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