NJ Teacher Fired Despite Tenure Over Gun Ownership Comments

There are some localities that are so vehemently anti-gun that it’s not a good idea to mention you’re a gun owner. I’ve talked before about the stigmatization of the gun owner, and these places are hotbeds of such thinking. They see gun owners as a menace to society, despite absolutely no evidence of them being any such thing.

It’s a sentiment that is likely to continue as time rolls on unless something actively makes it stop.

In fact, I’m fairly sure it led to one teacher in New Jersey losing their job.

A state arbitrator has ruled the Westfield School District is justified in firing a tenured teacher accused of making angry statements about his gun ownership, something the district claims created an atmosphere of fear at Tamaques Elementary School.

The decision from state Department of Education arbitrator Joyce M. Klein upholds three of six tenure charges lodged by the district, including accusations that the former teacher, Frank Fuzy III, threw sticky notes at a student and separately made threatening comments about his stature and his ownership of firearms.

“Mr. Fuzy has not been fully successful at controlling his temper with students, teachers and other staff,” Klein writes in her decision issued Monday. “As a result, Mr. Fuzy’s conduct has led to calling students ‘stupid,’ inappropriately reducing students to tears; and most importantly discussing his height, weight and guns in a threatening manner in a conversation where he was stressed and angry.”

Fuzy, in response to the tenure charges, lodged a federal lawsuit against the Board of Education in which he claims school district employees have made false and defamatory statements against him, discriminated against him on the basis of his age and gender and retaliated against him as a result of his gun ownership.

“Defendants have shamelessly and recklessly used notorious mass shootings to whip up anti-gun owner animus against plaintiff,” the complaint in Fuzy’s lawsuit claims. “This impermissible animus has been a substantial motivating factor in the wrongful treatment of plaintiff.”

To be fair, there’s a whole lot of he said, she said going on in this case, and I doubt we’re going to learn the truth of it from a single news article. However, at this point, I’m inclined to believe Mr. Fuzy.

You see, people don’t start acting the way the district claims Fuzy was acting. It rarely starts overnight. Yet Fuzy was granted tenure, which suggests that he was a good teacher for many years. He wasn’t a problem.

Now, it’s possible that he figured that with tenure, he didn’t have to play nice, but we’ve also seen a lot of anti-gun sentiment come out of schools in recent years. Students have been suspended for lawful activities with firearms away from campus, for example, so is it that much of a stretch to suspect they’d do the same thing to a teacher?

Further, the district claims Fuzy discussed “guns in a threatening manner in a conversation where he was stressed and angry.” If he made threats, why was he not charged? Making terroristic threats is a crime, so why not have him arrested for that? Don’t try to tell me it was out of consideration for him since the same district just fired him for it.

At the end of the day, Fuzy is now out of a job, at least in part, because of his gun ownership. Frankly, I’m inclined to believe most of it was because of that.

Here’s hoping Fuzy can get another job soon enough, hopefully somewhere that doesn’t hold a teacher’s decision to exercise a fundamental human right against them.