A Colorado middle school teacher who wrote “I want to kill children” in a message to his students has resigned after an internal investigation into the incident.
School officials said Kris Burghart, an eighth grade teacher at Otho E. Stuart Middle School in Commerce City, displayed an inappropriate message on a projector screen to his class that “frightened” some of the students.
The Denver Post reported that it read: “Silent reading … I want to kill children but I am a loving Christian man who never would hurt a flee [sic] so please sit down and read.”
“It is my firm belief that at no time, under any circumstance is it acceptable to threaten harm to our students — not as a teaching tool, not as venting frustration, not as a joke,” School District 27J Superintendent Chris Fiedler wrote to parents late last week in a letter about the matter. “I want to inform you that Mr. Burghart has resigned from his duties as a 27J teacher effective immediately.”
Fabricio Velez, principal of Stuart Middle School, said in letter to parents late last week that he became aware of the teacher’s message, which was displayed Dec. 1, after a parent reported it to him.
A district spokeswoman told the Denver Post that a student had taken a picture of it on his phone.
“He is a very well-liked teacher, so it is unfortunate, but we don’t stand for anyone making threatening remarks,” district spokeswoman Tracy Rudnick told the newspaper.
District and school officials had placed Burghart on administrative leave pending the internal investigation, the principal said in his letter.
“Please know that we take any allegations concerning the safety and security of our Raptors very seriously,” Velez said in the note, which was posted on the school’s Facebook page. “Please also understand that in cases such as this, I’m not always able to communicate with you in a timely manner. But, I can assure you that no student was in danger at any time.”
Burghart resigned Friday, according to the school district.
Fox News affiliate KDVR, which posted a picture of the message on Twitter, quoted one parent as saying it was unacceptable behavior.
“We all have bad days, but as a person in a position of trust with our students, it doesn’t matter how bad your day is,” one parent said, according to the news station. “You don’t speak that way. You don’t write that way.”
Still, numerous others came out in support of Burghart.
“This is truly unfortunate. Stuart lost a great teacher,” one woman wrote on the school’s Facebook page.
“My daughter is so upset about this,” another wrote. “She felt Mr. Burghart was and is a great teacher. He also stated that he was a good Christian man, which is not supported by the school or the district. We do not support this decision.”
Burghart did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday from The Washington Post.