Francis Howell board member accused of threatening to investigate student emails after disagreement over transgender policy

Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 10:16 PM CST
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O’Fallon, Mo. (KMOV) -Adelaide Minton exclusively speaks to First Alert 4 about an exchange between a St. Charles County board member she says was an act of intimidation.

“I believe she felt threatened by students disagreeing with her, articulating it well, and she wanted to silence voices that would speak out against her,” says sophomore, Adelaide Minton.

Minton is calling out Francis Howell Board of Education member, Jane Puszkar, for threatening to investigate her email account following a back and forth about a transgender bathroom proposal.

“They responded to me incredibly disrespectfully. Threatening an investigation of my school account,” Minton tells First Alert 4.

In a November 6th email chain, the sophomore tells board member Puszkar, why the policy is a bad idea and adds “transgender students being forced into uncomfortable situations.”

Puskar replied, “We BOTH know this was not written by a 15 year old. This string is being investigated by the FHSD for possible hacking and privacy violations. Thank you for your email.”

The policy would prohibit gender neutral bathrooms and require students to use restrooms and locker rooms based on the gender on their birth certificate.

“I’m very worried about the safety of my friends and peers, Minton says. “I believe our public officials especially our school board be held to a higher standard and held accountable for their actions.”

During a board meeting on Thursday, despite Policy 2116 being tabled, community members on both sides voiced their concerns.

“Around 16,000 students in our district and for less than 1% of this population these bullies are willing to bring lawsuits that could harm and jeopardize the education of all of our children,” says one man.

“I urge all 7 board directors to move forward with a bathroom policy to ensure the safety and well-being of all,” says another parent.

“They are really amazing people who deserve to go to the restroom in peace,” Minton says.

A Francis Howell school teacher who also has a transgender child in the district says if the board approves the policy, she will file a lawsuit.

“My family has no other course but to take legal action,” says Becky Hormuth. “It is not something that’s beneficial. It is discriminatory, and it is something that is illegal,”

First Alert 4 reached out to board member Jane Puszkar for comment and have not received a response.