Teacher Indicted on Child Sex Charges in May
By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – In the world of education, having a contract non-renewed as a teacher can often be viewed as the kiss of death. Often times a school board will suggest a teacher resign rather than non-renewing his or her contract.
During a called meeting of the Grapeland Independent School District Board of Trustees, held on Monday, June 3, the term contract of GISD teacher Melissa Singer was non-renewed.
Singer was arrested in October of 2018 and charged with continual sexual assault of a child under 14 years of age. On May 1 of this year, an Anderson County Grand Jury indicted her on the charge.
“At the April board meeting, we had a proposed termination. She had 15 days to request a hearing and she requested it. Last night, we came together and presented our case while her lawyer had an opportunity to defend her. Our board voted to non-renew her,” Grapeland ISD Superintendent Don Jackson reported.
“I hope this is the end to a very difficult and painstaking process for the school,” the superintendent said. “Ms. Singer still has to face a criminal trial. She could take a plea or face a trial by jury. As far as the school goes, we have been disconnected from her since the arrest.”
Because a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and because of her previous contract status, Singer was placed on administrative leave rather than terminated at the time of her arrest.
“In the terms that were used last night, we chose not to renew her contract as a teacher in Grapeland ISD,” Jackson said.
The superintendent further indicated the district had not relied solely on the state’s investigation of the alleged criminal actions, but had also conducted its own “in-house” investigation.
“There were some violations of school district policy which also led to the termination. My biggest concern was and is and always will be the safety and welfare of our students,” he said.
Will Johnson may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.