A New York teacher was fired from Fox Lane High School after he told a “medium” online that the government was responsible for the Newtown school shooting and that he wanted to “kill people.”
Adam Heller, 35, is suing the Bedford school district after Superintendent Jere Hochman told a disciplinary hearing that Heller suffered from "mental illness.”
"Due to an apparent mental illness, it would create an undue risk to the safety of the students and faculty of the Bedford Central School District if you were permitted to return to your duties," wrote Hochman.
Heller says he was adequately evaluated and does not suffer from mental illness. He allegedly bought a gun on Dec. 14, 2012, the same day Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, according to court documents.
Later that month Heller began having online conversations with a “medium,” Georgia O’Connor.
During these chats, the English teacher told O’Connor of "concerns about government power and corruption, including the potential use by the government of technology to effect weather patterns and nationwide conspiracies,” the court filing said.
In a short span of time, Heller purchased two guns, including a Russian military rifle, and received a .22-caliber rifle from a friend. Concerned about Heller's well-being, O’Connor contacted the FBI.
Bedford and Pound Ridge police monitored his online communications, according to court documents. He was arrested Jan. 18, 2013 after purchasing a new .22 caliber rifle at a Carmel gun store.
On Jan. 23, he was sent to a Behavior Health Unit at Westchester Medical Center and was "involuntarily committed and, over the course of a week, seen by many doctors.”
He was allegedly discharged on Feb. 11 and doctors told him he could return to work.
Hochman did not agree. He asked Heller to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
During a disciplinary hearing, Hochman said Heller intentionally made false statements to the therapist, Dr. Alexander Lerman.
"Dr. Lerman was unable to conclude whether Mr. Heller presents a risk to others because Mr. Heller failed to cooperate with the evaluation and thus it must be assumed that Mr. Heller presents such a risk," Hochman said. "Mr. Heller expressed in an internet communication that he believed the U.S. government programmed the Newtown school shooter, which indicates that he might feel compelled to commit a similar act."
On May 12, Heller was terminated.
"The decision is arbitrary and capricious, and lacks evidentiary support and violates due process," the complaint states.