A Douglas County middle school teacher who was put on paid leave earlier this year after garnering national attention for comments posted on social media has reached an agreement with the school district.
Michelle Grissom, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Mountain Ridge Middle School in Highlands Ranch, has resigned effective May 1 and will receive $25,000, the school district confirmed, in addition to 14 weeks of paid time off.
Grissom was put on paid leave Jan. 23 after her Jan. 20 tweet claimed a Kentucky teenager participated in a controversial rally in Washington, D.C. The post referred to the student as training to be part of the “Hitler Youth.”
The student Grissom mentioned by name, however, was not actually at the rally.
The nature of Grissom's comments drew anger from many parents and community members.
At a Feb. 5 school board meeting, Douglas County Superintendent Thomas Tucker formally recommended Grissom's termination. Under Colorado law, Grissom was allowed to request a hearing on the basis of her termination before a hearing officer, who would make a recommendation to the school board, according to a statement from Tucker at the time. The dismissal process would be ongoing and the school district would not provide further comment, Tucker said.
The school district has reached an agreement with Grissom, in which Grissom will not seek future employment with DCSD and has released any current or future claims she may have against the school district, a statement from Tucker says.
In return, the district agreed to withdraw its dismissal proceedings and pay Grissom the $25,000, approximately what she would otherwise have been entitled to under Colorado law, and a small portion of the cost of the hearing while the dismissal proceedings continued, according to Tucker's statement.
“We believe the agreement is in the best interest of the Douglas County School District as it addresses our community's concerns regarding Ms. Grissom's continued employment, avoids the distraction of the ongoing dismissal litigation, and ends the continued expense and uncertainty involved in the teacher dismissal process,” Tucker said in the statement.
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