Colorado Teacher Doxxed Covington Catholic Student, Disparaged Christianity on Twitter
“I’m MsGrissom and I’m usually anti-hate. Usually.”
A Colorado middle school teacher has been placed on leave pending a school district investigation after she issued a series of hatred-inciting tweets about the Covington Catholic incident at the Lincoln Memorial, doxxing a student who wasn’t even on the trip, and labeling him a member of the “Hitler Youth.”
That teacher, Michelle Grissom, is employed by the Douglas County School District as a social studies teacher at Mountain Ridge Middle School. Grissom was also on the executive board of the local teacher’s union until she resigned her position several days ago.
Many who saw the initial mainstream media coverage of the incident at the Lincoln Memorial believed the media’s false reporting that the Covington Catholic students wearing “Make American Great Again” hats mocked and jeered at Native American “veteran” Nathan Philips. As longer video clips undeniably showed, Philips was in fact the instigator of the whole incident, marching right up to the Covington Catholic students and drumming in their faces, while they smiled and clapped to his beat. The Covington Catholic students did nothing wrong. But teacher Michelle Grissom did not wait to uncover the facts before inciting drastic action against the Covington students. Instead, she posted a tweet misidentifying Nick Sandmann, the smiling student seen in the iconic photo with Philips, as a Covington classmate who wasn’t even on the trip to D.C.
Grissom tweeted: “His name is Jay Jackson. His twitter account is closed to non followers so we won’t interfere with his training in the #HitlerYouth.”
Jackson’s father, John Jackson, responded to Grissom over twitter that his son was in fact playing in multiple basketball games that weekend and was not in Washington, D.C. with his classmates. Despite this clarification from the student’s father, Grissom left up her initial tweet doxxing his son although she eventually apologized for mistaking his identity.
Upset about Grissom’s attack on his son and her refusal to take down the tweet misidentifying him, John Jackson finally tweeted the following messages to Mountain Ridge Middle School and the Douglas County School District which employ Grissom:
“on Saturday Jan 19 a teacher at ur school, Michelle Grissom posted a picture of my 17 yo son and a defamatory and untrue accusation regarding the incident that occurred in DC over the weekend..calling my son a #hitleryouth when I told her my son was not in DC but playing basketball she demanded proof, proof sent she finally acquiesced and apologized but has refused to take down her post and my sons picture...I hope this is dealt with appropriately and swiftly ...my son was harassed and bullied as a result of this teachers rush to judgement ..totally abhorrent behavior and inexcusable actions that need to have consequences...SHE IS TEACHING YOUR STUDENTS!!!”
“It wasn’t my son, he wasn’t even in D.C.,” Jackson told a local Colorado news station. “He was very shaken and upset. He feared that his future could be negatively impacted by having his name and picture associated with Hitler and the events in D.C.”
“We were shocked and disappointed when nobody from the school district reached out to us,” Jackson added. “We feel like this is a serious offense and would like at least some form of acknowledgment and apology.”
Michelle Grissom also made several tweets vilifying the Catholic Church, calling it a “cesspool of degenerates” and declaring that the Catholic League should be “classified as a domestic terrorist organization.” She opined that the Christian Right is “nothing more than racist haters spreading the vitriol wherever and whenever they can. Christianity has become a religion of hate for too many and must be purged from the government for democracy to survive.”
She also commented: “I’m MsGrissom and I’m usually anti-hate. Usually.”
Grissom has now deleted her Twitter account but a local Colorado news site reports that “She has a history of improper Tweets using foul language and hoping for the death of other people.”
The Douglas County School District does have a lengthy policy on employees’ social media use outside of work which states, in part:
“We encourage employees to be thoughtful about their activity online. Social media is a public forum and therefore even posts made on personal time may have professional consequences… 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.”
It hardly seems a stretch to declare that Grissom’s twitter posts doxxing a student at another educational institution and declaring him part of the “Hitler Youth” violate this policy. She remains on paid leave pending the conclusion of the school district’s investigation.