Teacher Watches Arrest, Nearly Gets Fired

Officials accused her of 'conduct unbecoming a teacher'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2016 6:43 AM CDT
Teacher Watches Arrest, Nearly Gets Fired
Minneapolis police officers assembled near the 4th Precinct.   (Leila Navidi/Star Tribune via AP)

High school drama teacher Crystal Spring stopped on her way home last month to observe police arresting a young black man—and nearly ended up losing her job. Spring, who is white, was arrested in Minneapolis on May 19 and spent the night in jail when police accused her of running and yelling in the street and interfering with officers making an arrest after being repeatedly told to step back, City Pages reports. Spring said all she did was peacefully observe the arrest, but Minneapolis Public Schools sided with police after learning of the incident. Officials placed Spring on administrative leave and tried to fire her for "conduct unbecoming a teacher" before abruptly changing course and apologizing to her Tuesday—just before a planned rally to support her, the Star Tribune reports.

Spring, the award-winning creator of the social justice Blackbox theater program at Washburn High School, has "been removed from administrative leave and will be receiving an apology from all of us," Minneapolis Public Schools Interim Superintendent Michael Thomas said in a statement, adding that "due diligence was not followed in this case." Spring is still fighting a misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice. Her attorney tells City Pages that even if she had criticized police officers, "it would still be within her right to free speech. Members of the public have the ability to watch police and criticize them. What this has to do with her job, I don't know." (This teacher lost her job over the word "vagina" in a class lesson.)

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