The teacher whose Facebook comments sparked a threatened protest at Como Park Senior High was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday.
St. Paul Public Schools spokeswoman Toya Stewart Downey said the reason for Theo Olson’s leave is private under state law.
Also Wednesday at Como High, a teacher was hospitalized following a fight with two students.
Black Lives Matter St. Paul leader Rashad Turner last week threatened to “shut down” Como High unless Olson was fired over what Turner considered to be racially charged comments on school discipline.
Superintendent Valeria Silva met with members of the group Monday. In a statement released later that day, Silva called the conversation “productive and positive,” and said Turner “has chosen to discontinue any immediate protests.”
Black Lives Matter members have declined to discuss what took place during the meeting.
Despite no announced link to the controversial posts, Turner said Wednesday that Olson’s leave was a “great first step.”
“Although Mr. Olson is only one individual, his mind-set is shared by several of his colleagues at Como Sr. and across the district and state. We need to rid the district of all employees who share the belief in the racial bias and disdain that Mr. Olson shared so comfortably,” Turner said in a text message.
Turner said he did not know Monday that Olson would be placed on leave.
Olson suggested last week on Facebook that the district’s efforts to keep students in school and out of jail are “enabling student misconduct.” He also complained that teachers weren’t getting enough help to deal with misbehavior.
“Since we now have no backup, no functional location to send kids who won’t quit gaming, setting up fights, selling drugs, whoring trains, or cyber bullying, we’re screwed, just design our own classroom rules,” Olson wrote.
Olson declined to comment Monday and could not be reached Wednesday.
Teachers union president Denise Rodriguez said the union doesn’t comment on investigations involving its members.
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