A Colorado teacher is reportedly facing termination for calling a Kentucky high school student a member of the "Hitler Youth" after she incorrectly identified the teen as being one of the students at last month's March For Life seen in a controversial viral video -- which itself has been widely misrepresented.
The superintendent for the Douglas County School District recommended Mountain Ridge Middle School teacher Michelle Grissom be dismissed, KDVR reported.
In a statement, Superintendent Thomas Tucker said Grissom is entitled to a hearing, however, before the school board makes a final decision, according to KDVR.
Grissom, who has been on administrative leave since Jan. 20, is accused of sharing tweets wrongly identifying a student in Kentucky as one of the teens seen in a video showing an interaction between students from Covington Catholic High School and a Native American activist after a Jan. 18 pro-life event in Washington D.C. That viral video itself was initially misrepresented to paint the teens in a bad light. A more lengthy recording of the encounter, however, showed the Covington students were not harassing the activist, as had been alleged.
“His name is Jay Jackson. His twitter account is closed to non followers so we don’t interfere with his training in the #HitlerYouth,” Grissom tweeted, according to Complete Colorado.
Much like the initial video misrepresenting the Covington high school students, Grissom’s tweet went viral.
The 17-year-old boy’s father saw the tweet and responded, saying his son was not on the field trip to the nation’s capital, and instead was playing in a varsity basketball game hundreds of miles away at the time of the incident. The man even went so far as to provide proof of his claim, Complete Colorado reported.
He later tweeted, tagging the school district: “she finally apologized but has refused to take down her post and my son’s picture. My son was harassed and bullied as a result of this teacher’s rush to judgment…totally abhorrent behavior and inexcusable actions that need to have consequences.”
Grissom’s Twitter account has since been made private. According to Complete Colorado, Grissom has been employed with the school district since Aug. 1, 1999, and earns $74,015.55 per year.
The March For Life incident at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial went viral after a short video purported to show Covington high school student Nick Sandmann harassing Native American activist Nathan Phillips. The teenager was vilified online.
Subsequent videos that captured the full incident revealed the students – some, including Sandmann, wearing red “Make American Great Again” hats – were actually the ones who were accosted and yelled at before Phillips and other Native American activists approached them. Another group – the so-called Black Hebrew Israelites – were heard and seen shouting at the students.
Both school officials and the Native Americans involved have said they’ve received death threats since the encounter.
Sandmann and his family have retained a legal team, which this week prepared for the first steps in possible legal action for libel, defamation and cyberbullying.
“Many statement(s) were published that urged the idea of subjecting Nick to acts of physical violence,” L. Lin Wood, a nationally-recognized attorney in the fields of libel, defamation and the First Amendment, told Fox News in a statement Tuesday. “Although the courts’ opportunities to identify appropriate causes of action for harm caused by unlawful speech on the Internet have been somewhat limited in number to date, I believe that there are a number of viable causes of actions available to this young man who is and remains a private figure plaintiff.”
Sandmann’s legal team has also sent out preservation letters to more than 50 media organizations, celebrities and politicians advising them not to destroy any documents connected to the incident as the lawyers prepare for a possible libel and defamation fight.