Florida teacher put on leave after allegedly telling students about hypothetical school shooting

A Florida high school teacher has been put on administrative leave after he allegedly told students how, if he were an active school shooter, he’d “have a 1,000-person body count and be a hero,” authorities said.

According to The Ledger, Lakeland Police Det. Justin Conatser wrote in a petition for a risk protection order that the teacher in question allegedly said during a lockdown drill that he would be the best school shooter because he "would plant (improvised explosive devices) ... fire a couple of rounds and wait for everyone to hide, then press a button, and boom everyone would die."

The teacher allegedly made the remarks during an Aug. 16 lockdown drill, police said. Authorities interviewed and obtained statements from at least 16 students regarding the alleged comments.


The teacher was taken into custody Monday under Florida’s Baker Act and transported to a mental health facility in Lakeland, The Ledger reported. The Baker Act allows for the involuntary institutionalization and examination of an individual.

The teacher also allegedly said “he would personally place a bomb in the corner the students were in,” according to one student.

Conatser wrote in his report that he interviewed the teacher, who is a veteran. According to the report, the teacher allegedly acknowledged that he told students he could do a better job by placing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), but said he was joking.

“I asked [him] why in the world would he want a school shooter to do a better job?” Conatser wrote. “He shook his head and said that he, in fact, would not want that now."

Conaster said he told the teacher that he should "be looked at as the person who will protect the students and not make them question whether their teacher is looking to harm them.”

The teacher was reportedly put on administrative leave from Polk County Public Schools after a student told their parents about his remarks. The student’s parents reportedly called a school guidance counselor, who reported the incident to the principal, according to The Ledger.

The paper reported that police searched the teacher's car and home and found no weapons. 

“Parents and students should be assured that we take any potential threat against our students and schools seriously,” Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd told the Ledger in a statement. “Student safety is — and always will be — paramount within our school district.”

School district spokesperson Rachel Pleasant said Thursday that the district would not comment while an investigation into the alleged incident is ongoing.

The teacher has no prior criminal record and has been teaching for at least a decade, The Ledger reported. He is set to appear in court on Aug. 30 for a hearing on a final risk protection order, according to CNN.