DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — A man attempting to ask the Douglas County School board about a teacher accused of derogatory comments, which were directed toward a Covington Catholic student, was escorted out of the room.
The man approached the podium at Thursday’s meeting during a public comment session. He brought up the district social media policy that has guidelines for usage outside of work. It includes this paragraph:
Avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, unprofessional, obscene, threatening or intimidating, disruptive to the efficient operations of schools, violates an employee’s duty of loyalty to DCSD, that disparages DCSD employees, students, communities, customers, partners and affiliates, or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment.
“Here we are, a community incensed by a teacher’s social media posts. Nobody wants to be here discussing this, but no matter how uncomfortable, we must confront this,” he said.
The posts the man referred to came from a Twitter account that has been attributed to Mountain Ridge Middle School teacher Michelle Grissom. The tweets mention a student by name and say he was at a now-infamous rally in Washington, D.C. last week, which involved students from Covington Catholic, in Kentucky. The father of the identified student said he was not there, but rather at a basketball game in Kentucky.
The posts also call the student “Hitler Youth.”
The Twitter account has since been deleted.
“I can’t imagine what drove a teacher to make comments online that were hateful and bigoted,” the man told the school board. “Now we’re all left picking up the pieces that she broke.”
As the speaker continued, he mentioned Grissom's name. Members of the board then stopped him to say that it is a violation of meeting rules.
“You are out of order at this time. No one can hear you as you speak because your microphone is no longer [operable],” David Ray, the board president, told the speaker.
An officer then escorted the speaker away from the podium.
Next with Kyle Clark looked at video of a board meeting earlier this month, when a woman held up signs and also mentioned people by name. She was permitted to stay.
Grissom, who went on leave earlier this week, resigned from her position on the union board Thursday. She has not returned calls from Next.