A local high schooler and former football player tweeted that he would shoot up a gay nightclub, hours after the massacre at an Orlando nightclub.
The tweet from the student in Clay County, a district that has said it will not follow President Barack Obama's directive on LGBT bathrooms, said “I’d shoot up a gay night club also…. Too soon?”
Action News Jax asked the Clay County school district whether the student was disciplined. The district said it cannot comment on disciplinary action against students.
The school district said its policy requires the district to notify law enforcement of any potential threats made by students and they did contact law enforcement in this case.
"Where did he learn that from?" parent Daniel Barkowitz asked the superintendent and school board during last week's meeting, at which they expressed concerns about the tweet. "Why did he think this was an acceptable response?"
Barkowitz's 16-year-old daughter Caro is the president of the gay-straight alliance at Fleming Island High School.
She and her father told Superintendent Charlie Van Zant the alliance felt the school district has played a role in creating a culture of discrimination.
“Can we honestly look at our Clay County schools and say that we aren’t teaching the same hatred?” Barkowitz said. “Can we honestly say that we are teaching love rather than hate?”
Caro said she has felt her safety has been put at risk after Van Zant announced he would not follow President Obama’s directive to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
“Do you feel guilty for teaching him that hate?” Caro said. “Will it take a shooter to come here and shoot your gay and trans students, people who deserve your protection as much as any other student, to get you to change your mind?”
"I have pledged to this community multiple times and taken the oath of the Constitution of the United States multiple times to protect and defend it in its current state,” Van Zant said during last week’s school board meeting.
Van Zant has said that he supports traditional family values and felt the district’s policy does protect all students.
"We will continue to protect the dignity of every student,” Van Zant said. “What we will not do is bow to any unlawful directive from the president or anybody else that doesn't have the power to make a law."
The student behind the tweet has since tweeted that he regrets it and called it an “immature joke.”
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