Florida yoga studio gunman was fired from substitute teaching in two counties

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The gunman who killed two and wounded five others at a yoga studio here had been fired as a substitute teacher from two Florida school systems.

Scott Beierle, 40, of Deltona, Florida, had a history of arrests for grabbing young women around the campus of Florida State University but also was able to work as a substitute teacher for both the Leon and Volusia county school districts.

Beierle was fired May 25 from Volusia County Schools for unprofessional conduct, according to district records. He began working as a substitute teacher for the district in January 2017, said Kelly Schulz, a spokeswoman for the school system.

“Student and witnesses allege that Mr. Beierle asked a female student if she was ticklish and then proceeded to touch her at the top of the stomach ‘below the bra line,’ ” a district report stated. “Student was frightened and hid behind another student.”

Beierle was removed from the classroom and brought to the principal’s office to make a statement, but he tried to leave campus before that could happen.

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“He was told to wait for Mr. Goodin but attempted to leave campus, and the deputy had to run to catch up to him to bring him back for questioning,” according to the report. Tony Goodin is the eighth-grade assistant principal at Galaxy Middle School in Deltona, more than 200 miles southeast of Tallahassee.

Samantha Mikolajczyk, 14, who had Beierle as a sub in her history class at Deltona Middle School about a dozen times last year when she was in eighth grade, said he gave off a “psychopath vibe.”

“He would never really smile, never gave off much except a really weird aura, I guess,” she said. “He would put you on edge if he was talking with you or you were alone with him.”

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Before his stint in Volusia County, Beierle had worked as a substitute teacher for Leon County Schools from April 2015 to March 2016 but was fired for violating the Tallahassee-based school district’s acceptable internet use policy, school officials indicated without elaborating.

Schulz, the Volusia County Schools spokeswoman, said Beierle had passed state and federal background checks that her district and the Florida Department of Education conducted.

In 2012 and 2016 before he was hired for his teaching job in Volusia County, Beierle was arrested for grabbing a woman on the Florida State campus and at his off-campus apartment complex. Charges were dropped in both cases.

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The state issued Beierle, who earned master’s degrees in public administration and planning from Florida State, a teaching certificate in July 2015.

“The Volusia County School district is more stringent with their hiring process than state law requires,” Schulz said in an email. “For example, Volusia Schools will not hire anyone with any felony conviction or multiple DUIs.”

Follow Jeff Burlew on Twitter: @JeffBurlew

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