Duval County school safety officer fired, accused of pointing replica gun at a student's head

Duval County school safety officer fired, accused of pointing replica gun at a student's head

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A school safety officer is off the job for allegedly pointing a gun at the head of a student with "cognitive deficiencies."

Tuesday night, the Duval County School Board upheld the superintendent’s decision to fire Officer Joshua Gwynes.

Just after the vote, Action News Jax caught up with school board Chairwoman Lori Hershey.

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“It’s a personnel issue, and so I can’t comment any further than that, but the [school] board typically follows the recommendation of the superintendent,” Hershey said.

Joshua Gwynes, a DCPS safety officer, is accused of pointing a replica gun at a student's head at Jean Ribault High School, according to the notice.

Duval County Public Schools said April 30, the assigned school safety officer for Ribault High got word that a student had a gun.

The report states he requested backup, but the firearm was found to be fake prior to Officer Gwynes’ arrival.

DCPS said Gwynes was the first to get there.  They said he, "pointed a realistic replica firearm at a student’s head."

The report states that student is an "eleventh grade Support Level Academics (SLA) student" who "suffered with some cognitive deficiencies and was easily distracted."

DCPS said in Gwynes’ interview, ‘[he was] asked if [he] had done anything similar in the past as related to teaching life lessons and [he] replied, “Absolutely.”

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A woman answered the door at his listed address Tuesday night, but she didn’t want to interview.

“No comment on what happened?” Action News Jax Reporter Russell Colburn asked.

“Nope, it’s all false,” she said.

“It’s all false?” Colburn asked.  “Is there anything you’d like to elaborate [on]?”

“Nope,” she said.  “You guys can contact [the Fraternal Order of Police].”

In a statement to Action News Jax, FOP President Steve Zona said in part, “Chief Edwards erred in his decision to fire Officer Gwynes, and we believe this will be demonstrated as Gwynes exercises his due process rights of appeal.”

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