"Fox Chapel-Gate" Fiasco Leads to Calls for Gov to Remove Super, Harsh Words from BOCC
Last updated 8/21/2023 at 11:33am
BROOKSVILLE – As controversy over last month's Fox Chapel threat investigation continues to develop, one government body didn't sparse words during a debate over who should be held accountable – and it isn't the teacher.
On Tuesday, the Hernando Board of County Commissioners held their regular meeting to discuss various agenda items, but no one expected to hear debate over a transgender teacher who was recently removed from Fox Chapel Middle School for allegedly making threatening remarks.
Commissioner Beth Narverud opened the discussion by saying, "As a parent and former school board member, and as the school board liaison, I have to make a comment on what has happened to our schools. I can't let it just go by." Narverud went on to read a prepared statement; "We've seen unprecedented failure of leadership at our school board level. I cannot fathom a time or instance where anyone, let alone a teacher would threaten people at their workplace and then be allowed to return. Recently, a Hernando County teacher threatened to shoot their fourth period classroom, then was allowed to return to the classroom to teach the same students she wanted to shoot a few days before. Why?" Narverud goes on to say, "What if the teacher made good on those threats? This person was placed under a risk protection order (RPO) by Law Enforcement. Why and how was this teacher given the all-clear to return to a classroom?" Narverud demanded accountability in leadership and says, "The responsibility for this decision rests with the Superintendent of Hernando County Schools. He was not willing to make a difficult decision to remove the threat from the classroom... Stratton should make the easy decision and remove himself from the School District."
Commissioner Champion echoed Narverud's sentiments and asked the question, "Why can't we, if we all agree, to write a letter to the Governor asking him to remove him?" Champion continues, "The school board's not going to do it because there are three woke liberals on there that just support him and they're not going to do anything about it. We can ask the Governor to do something about it and I think he will."
Commissioner Brian Hawkins took a softer approach, saying he has respect for Stratton because of interactions in the past, stating, "I think the appropriate thing is to speak with each school board member." Hawkins says he believes it would be inappropriate to call for Stratton to be removed, comparing it to if a school board member was asking for the removal of "Administrator Rogers." After finding out the details of what happened with the teacher involved, Hawkins agrees that someone should be held accountable but that the proper protocols should be followed in doing so.
Commissioner Jeff Campbell also agreed and said, "The lack of accountability is disgusting and there is no excuse for it." Campbell says the policy needs to be "trashed" if that's what led to the failures. "It's really sad that we're having this conversation – teachers threatening their students. If we didn't take prayer and bibles out of our schools we wouldn't have these problems in the first place," says Campbell. He continues, "I don't care he, she, whatever it is, what was said and how it was handled was wrong."
Commissioner John Allocco says, "This is the culmination of special privileges for special groups of people and the fear of people to do what's right. What we're doing in society is celebrating these issues that is are very contrary to what we know is right." He goes on to talk about the failure in leadership. "If you're a leader, you're held to a different standard than the people you lead. If you want to be captain of the team, you better behave better than the rest of the kids on the team. If you want to teach children in middle school, you better act like an adult. We continue in our society to allow special privileges for special groups of people who need mental health intervention. We shouldn't be afraid that someone's going to get angry at us... I'm angry! I'm tired of it. I'm glad I don't have any kids in that school, and if I did, they'd be pulled out and home schooled tomorrow." Allocco suggests the private sector is going to take over if it doesn't "fix itself."
R News contacted the school board and Superintendent Stratton for comment, but they have declined to reply. A record request shows that since the day R News broke the story on April 7th, 16 children have been withdrawn from Fox Chapel Middle School, presumably due to the controversy.
A petition has been created to remove John Stratton as Superintendent of Hernando County School. Over 1200 people have already signed that petition.