DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. – The Superintendent of Douglas County Schools has asked the school board to fire a teacher over tweets she wrote last month.
Mountain Ridge Middle School teacher Michelle Grissom has been on administrative leave since January 20th following tweets accusing a student in Kentucky of being involved in a viral video of teens and Native Americans in Washington, D.C.
The tweets accused the boy of being part of the “Hitler Youth”. However, the student she tweeted about was not in Washington, D.C. at the time.
“I understand that many in the community have strong opinions regarding Ms. Grissom and the circumstances giving rise to my recommendation. The District respects those opinions. However, to ensure that the process complies with Colorado law, while the dismissal process is ongoing, Douglas County School District will not provide further comment,” Superintendent Thomas Tucker wrote in a statement.
A group of parents had been calling for Grissom to be fired. About two dozen held a rally before Tuesday night’s school board meeting to call on the board to take action against her. The parents are also upset about the board’s policy limiting public comment to items on the agenda.
“This school board says you cannot speak to us until you’ve gone to the teacher, the principal until you’ve gone to the superintendent,” Douglas County resident and former Colorado State Senator Ted Harvey told FOX31.
Last month, Harvey and a handful of others signed up to speak during the public comment period at the school board meeting about Grissom. He says his request was denied.
“They were telling most people they couldn’t speak at all because we weren’t speaking on the topic that they wanted us to talk about,” parent Brad Wann said.
According to board policy, public comments are limited to items on each meeting’s agenda.
“The system in which to get your voice across is broken and it’s time that we as citizens stand up and do the right thing,” Wann said.
During their protest and rally though, law enforcement from Douglas County Sheriff’s Office instructed the group to move off of the lawn of the school district’s headquarters and onto the sidewalk instead. A representative of DCSO told the group they were trespassing.
“I don’t know any time in the history of Douglas County that anyone has been kicked off this grass,” Wann said.
The school board did not comment on the protest or their demands.
Grissom has apologized for the tweets. By law, she can request a hearing to appeal the dismissal process. According to the district, “the DCSD Board of Education will be the final judge as to whether Ms. Grissom is retained or dismissed.”