The daughter of the teacher gunned down in the St. Louis school shooting said her mom had mentioned a security concern last semester – telling relatives that a student from another school had brought a gun into the building.
“She mentioned that, but other than that, she didn’t really think anything” about safety concerns, Abigail Kuczka told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about Jean Kuczka, 61, the slain physical-education teacher.
“I mean, I think people think it will never happen to them,” she added.
Orlando Harris, 19, who graduated last year from the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, entered the building through a locked door Monday morning and opened fire, police said.
Kuczka and 15-year-old student Alexandria Bell died in the rampage, which left seven other teens were wounded. The gunman was killed by police.
The beloved teacher had taught at the school since 2008, according to her school bio.
“My mom loved kids,” Abigail told the paper. “She loved her students. I know her students looked at her like she was their mom.”
In a tweet, school district employee Glenn Barnes called Kuczka “an amazing educator” who made a difference in her community.
“This is a huge loss,” he wrote.
Kuczka attended Southwest Missouri State University, now Missouri State, on a field hockey scholarship and was a member of the 1979 national championship team, the Post-Dispatch reported.
At the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, the mother of three daughters and two sons – one of whom is a police officer in Eureka — has taught health, personal finance and physical education
She recently began coaching cross country at the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience in the same building.
“This was her first year of empty-nesting, and she was looking for something extra to do,” Abigail told the paper. “She was definitely looking forward to retirement though. She was close.”
Kuczka, an avid cyclist, participated in yearly events event to raise money to help fight juvenile diabetes. One of her sons was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 10, Abigail said.
Reached by phone by the Post-Dispatch late Monday, her husband Stephen choked up as he said he did not want to comment yet.