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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 14, 20183min794
The middle school teacher who allegedly didn’t take it well when a male student didn’t stand for the Pledge of Allegiance is facing reckless child abuse with injury and a third-degree assault charge, according to Boulder prosecutors. Colorado Politics told you about the Feb. 1 incident at Angevine Middle School in Lafayette. Physical education teacher […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 5, 20183min1169
Karen Smith
Angevine Middle School gym teacher Karen Smith. (Photo courtesy of the Boulder County School District and media reports)

The story of a female Boulder County middle school gym teacher who allegedly assaulted a male student who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance went viral over the weekend.

National news sources from MSNBC to Fox News — and USA Today to Newsweek — had takes on the incident that went down Thursday at Angevine Middle School in Lafayette.

Though Boulder Valley School District policy allows students to choose to sit or stand during the pledge, gym teacher Karen Smith, a 20-year employee of the district, apparently took exception.

What happened next hasn’t been fully disclosed, but cops were called and Smith was put on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation. No charges were immediately filed.

CBS4’s Jamie Leary obtained a message Angevine Principal Mike Medina sent to parents:

Dear Angevine Middle School Families,

I hope everyone is having a good evening.

I am reaching out to you tonight to let you know that we will have a substitute teacher working with some of our PE classes for the time being.

While I cannot share much information, following an incident today at school, Ms. Smith was placed on paid administrative leave. We are working closely with our partners at the Lafayette Police Department. We believe in due process and therefore ask that everyone respect Ms. Smith’s privacy at this time.

We are dedicated, as always, to supporting our students and ensuring that we have qualified educators working with them during their physical education time.

Thank you for your patience and support. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Mike Medina
Principal
Angevine Middle School


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 20, 20173min474

Cindy Stevenson is no tenderfoot when it comes to controversy. The prominent, veteran schools administrator, who was chief exec of Jefferson County Public Schools — one of the state’s largest districts — for a dozen years, resigned that post in 2014 after a new school board came to power with a whole new, reformist agenda.

It was a tumultuous time, and the ride only got wilder at JeffCo after Stevenson left; the new board majority was ousted in a recall election backed by the teachers union in 2015.

She’s back in the saddle. Stevenson, a onetime “superintendent of the year,” has been hired as interim superintendent at the Boulder Valley School District — on the heels of a controversy there. The Boulder Valley school board fired Superintendent Bruce Messinger last month over an as-yet unspecified personnel issue.

Reports the Boulder Daily Camera’s Amy Bounds:

When Stevenson heard about the issues surrounding Messinger, she reached out to board members and offered her help, however it was needed.

They told her that her leadership could be used in the interim superintendent position, and she said she was surprised — but willing to jump in.

Now, she’s back in learning mode:

Stevenson said her first order of business will be to go on a listening tour to get to know principals and other school staff members.

“I need to do a lot of deep learning about Boulder Valley schools,” she said. “For the next two weeks, I’m going to talk to people. I’ll be having lots of meetings, lots of conversations. There’s a lot to learn.”

In more ways than one, Stevenson is coming home: Not only does she get to lead a high-profile district once again, but she also has been a Boulder resident since 1968, according to the Camera. It’ll be a short commute.

There’s also another way in which her new stint could turn out to be homecoming of sorts. As the Camera’s Bounds puts it:

In Boulder Valley, two and sometimes three of the school board members have consistently voted against the board majority on several issues, including the district’s budget, placing a tax increase on the ballot and renewing the former superintendent’s contract.

Stevenson said she doesn’t expect board members to always agree, but does want to see them “treat each other respectfully.”

From the JeffCo’s frying pan into Boulder’s fire? Time will tell.