Vernon "Chuck" Henderson, a Gaither High School social studies teacher who’s come under fire for posts in a white supremacist Facebook group, has resigned.
That’s according to Tanja Arja, Chief of Communications for Hillsborough County Public Schools, who shared the update with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay on Thursday.
“He has resigned his position with the district,” Arja wrote.
“Under my leadership our district will not tolerate racism of any kind,” Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent Addison wrote in a statement emailed to CL. “Any behavior that has a detrimental effect on our students and staff, or the positive culture at our schools will be dealt with in a swift manner. We will continue to protect the core values of our district and our community.”
Over the last week, Henderson (pictured) has been the subject of scrutiny from activists who shed light on his activity as a member of the pro-Nazi “Right Wing Death Squad” (RWDS) Facebook Group, which routinely posted pro-Nazi propaganda. For the unfamiliar, RWDS is also a phrase used by fringe far-right groups that insinuates genocide aimed at those who they feel are degenerates, (this typically includes groups like LGBTQ, minorities, etc).
Henderson has since defended himself, saying his account was recently compromised, but screenshots show a habit of racist and anti-Semitic remarks going back for over a month.
As Gaither High School’s student newspaper, The Pony Express, points out, the school—located near Carrollwood in North Tampa—has a minority enrollment rate of 62%.
“The comments could alienate students Henderson is responsible for educating,” reporter Andie Fields wrote.
In one social media comment posted in RWDS, Henderson’s account wrote, “I think we should stop looking down upon these poop people for preferring their steak slightly less than medium rare.”
In another, Henderson suggests that Black people aren’t smart enough to run a successful country. "... Show me one example of a black run country that was successful” Until the 1670s,” the account wrote. “Africa didn't have one city that wasn't made out of mud and sticks. or a system of writing and that was brought in by inferior Muslims.”
In another shitty thread, Henderson’s account asked, “When did Bantu make a resurgence in America.”
In one response to a post about the need for an all white ethnostate, Henderson wrote "Rhodesia 2.0," which a reference to the white supremacist vision of a Caucasian utopia.
Arja also told CL that Henderson told the county that he contacted the Temple Terrace Police Department about his his account allegedly being compromised.
But, on Thursday morning, Laurie Hayes, Public Information Officer for the City of Temple Terrace, told CL that, "While Mr. Henderson may have sought advice from one of our officers, there is no record of any official interaction, nor were any complaints filed with the Temple Terrace Police Department on his behalf."
On Thursday afternoon, Hayes added that "upon further review, our Police Department located an event within the Police Dispatch CAD that confirmed that Mr. Henderson did have contact with one of our officers on May 21 regarding threatening phone calls and harassing social media messages. As previously noted, no formal report resulted from the interaction."
UPDATED: 05/28/4:10 p.m. This post has been updated with comment from officials who said the Temple Terrace Police dispatch confirmed that Henderson did have contact with an officer regarding threatening phone calls and harassing social media messages.
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