Hibbing Educator’s Termination Prompts Change

Committee Proposed to Inspire Change in Hibbing

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After a yearlong investigation on assistant principal Jac Fleming the Hibbing School Board fired him after reports of discrimination against female students.

“The type of discrimination was sexual harassment,” Hibbing Coalition for Safe and Accountable Schools spokesperson Melissa Scaia said.

But Fleming’s charges were not solid enough to stand on.

“He had the right to appeal,” Hibbing School Board Member Kathy Nyberg said. “He appealed, an arbitrator looked over all of the evidence and the arbitrator decided that we needed to reinstate him.”

After being gone for nearly 8 months Fleming was supposed to start back at the high school on March 16th.

Board members tell FOX 21 that return was postponed.

“We were told we needed to ready the community, the parents, the students you know make sure we had a full plan in place,” said Nyberg. “We weren’t quite ready to do that yet.”

Right now everything is on hold.

“We feel like as a group that we would want to know the investigation results like any person would in the community,” said Scaia.

Out of this case birthed the Hibbing Coalition for Safe and Accountable Schools.

It is a group of concerned citizens advocating for operational changes within the school district in the areas of transparency, balance of power and accountability.

“It’s very, very clear to me that if the organizational structure of the school district doesn’t change its ripe for big problems to happen again,” said Scaia.

Just recently the coalition proposed to create a formal committee made up of school board and community members that would join forces to create a safer learning environment for students, teachers and staff.

“I do believe that this is a great time to start this,” said Nyberg. “We probably should have done it sooner.”

The school board will vote on the formation of the committee in April.

The board has hired a school law lawyer to get a second opinion about appealing the arbitrators decision to bring Fleming back.
 

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