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The school board chair who wanted armed patrols in hallways has stepped down

It follows controversy over comments he allegedly made on social media.
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What's happening?

Robert Gerhart, the Osseo Schools Board chairman, has stepped down from his role.

He hit the headlines recently after suggesting in the wake of the Florida school shooting that schools should have volunteers with concealed carry firearms patrolling school campuses.

He has also been under pressure from parents for some comments he has made on social media.

Osseo School District is the fifth largest district in Minnesota, comprising more than 30 schools/education centers. 

Related:

– School chair supports armed volunteers in hallways.

Why did he step down?

Gerhart's comments about armed schools seems to have drawn more attention to his social media accounts, where the Star Tribune reporting allegedly racist and Islamophobic posts either authored or shared by Gerhart were found.

The account has since been removed, but screenshots of some of the posts were shared on Facebook, prompting some parents to plan a rally at a school board work session this coming Tuesday.

The teaching union, Education Minnesota, also called from his resignation in a memo to members seen by GoMN, as well as planning to attend Tuesday's meeting and hold up signs in a silent protest.

But Gerhart instead resigned on Friday, ahead of the meeting.

He told the Star Tribune he was not racist, Islamaphobic or xenophobic, but that the pressure has had "a negatively huge impact on my family and the organization."

Superintendent speaks out on gun comments

His resignation came on the same day that Osseo Area Schools Superintendent Kate Maguire issued a statement relating to Gerhart's comments about guns on school property at a board meeting on Feb. 20.

She rebuked Gerhart, saying his comments "do not reflect my perspective or the official stance of the school district."

Gerhart suggested allowing armed volunteers (who pass extensive background checks) to patrol school hallways.

But Maguire said the school's policy of only armed law enforcement personnel being allowed to have a firearm on school will continue.

She added that Gerhart had clearly stated his comments "represented only his personal perspective" and he hadn't spoken with anyone in advance of the meeting about this.

"I would also note that the school board policy committee is not considering any changes to the policies at this time," she added.

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