The chair of the Osseo Area School Board, Robert Gerhart, has resigned.
In a resignation letter sent to the board and the superintendent of the Osseo Area School District on Friday, Gerhart wrote, "Over the last week and a half, my unsolicited statement at the Feb. 20 board meeting has obviously led to a great deal of blowback. I expected some, but not what we (both individually and organizationally) have seen. This was not my intent, but it is my fault and my responsibility."
After the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Gerhart said during a Feb. 20 school board meeting that school staff or volunteers who are vetted, trained and licensed could be armed to protect students.
His idea was criticized by many parents and others in the district.
But he also came under fire when screenshots of social media posts with his name began circulating among some in the school district. Some of those posts included inflammatory, anti-Islamic rhetoric. Gerhart addressed the postings in his letter as well.
"The ensuing attempts to assassinate my character are something that was completely uncalled for, but nevertheless, they persist," he wrote. "The collection of social media content that has been circulating includes content that I vehemently deny ownership of (and have proven to you as best I can), but there is other content that is actually mine. Of the content that is mine, none is racist, none is sexist, none is dangerous, etc., to a reasonable consumer."
Gerhart was elected to the board in 2014.
His resignation comes as the school board searches for a new superintendent.
In an email sent out about his resignation Friday, current Osseo Superintendent Kate Maguire, who is retiring after this school year, wrote that, "The board's work (including the search for a new superintendent) will continue, and I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition of leadership before I leave at the end of June."