• Volusia school board member on Tallahassee yoga studio gunman: 'Did we drop the ball?'

    By: Megan Cruz


    DeLAND, Fla. - Volusia County School Board members want answers about the Tallahassee yoga studio gunman who had been a substitute teacher in the district.

    Scott Beierle was hired from the Leon County school district, where he was fired for watching porn during a class.

    A school board member said he brought up the gunman during Wednesday evening's meeting, because Channel 9 uncovered plenty of red flags prior to him being hired here.

    Some have asked if applicants should be screened more closely.

    Read: 'He would stare at you': Yoga studio gunman's ex-student describes bizarre classroom behavior

    School board member Carl Persis cut right to the chase, asking district officials involved in hiring and screening.

    "Did we do something wrong? Did we drop the ball?" he said of Beierle.

    Last week, the 40-year-old opened fired at the yoga studio, killing two women and injuring five others before killing himself.

    Beierle worked in 21 Volusia County schools as a substitute teacher for more than a year.

    The district said it hired him from Leon County, where records show he had been fired for watching porn during class.

    Persis asked if the district knew that.

    "That's -- I don't know -- something that's been available in the news, but it wasn't something that was available in any of our records or our searches," said Sandy Hovis, who works for the district's labor and employee relations department.

    The district said Beierle passed all state and federal background checks.

    He was fired from the Volusia County school district in May, after a student claimed he touched her near her bra line after asking her if she was ticklish.

    Students at Hinson Middle School also lodged complaints against him, but the district said those were never substantiated.

    Read: Florida yoga shooter taught at 21 Volusia Co. schools, touched female student's stomach, school says

    Leon County said it has changed how it hires teachers in large part because of Beierle.

    "Every effort needs to be made to ensure the person in front of the classroom has absolutely been screened, referenced, checked and isn't a monster," Persis said.

    District officials were not told they would be answering questions about Beierle, so they said they did not have all his information readily available.

    Volusia County Schools provided Channel 9 with the following statement Friday:

    "Reference checks were performed consistent with the board's policy of three reference checks for the past 10 years of employment, including the last employer. Leon County was not his last employer and not selected as one of the three required reference checks for this time period. He had several references listed, which you can see in his personnel file. The district did not know about any termination from Leon County, nor was it reflected in the Florida Department of Education's screening tool used by the district. We cannot speak for Leon County in this matter. A full criminal background screening process was also used as required by law. Our review of this matter finds no errors by the district and it has a sound process. Our screening standards exceed what is required by state law."

    Next Up: