ELIZABETH, Colo. — Three Elizabeth Middle School staff members are each one facing charge of failure to report suspected child abuse, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
The principal, assistant principal and counselor were suspended on Nov. 8, the Elizabeth School District said in a news release Thursday.
An investigation into Brett Michel, Jeff Sparrow and Shannon Paxton was then conducted by the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office for allegations that complaints students made last spring, about abuse at the hands of a teacher, were not reported to law enforcement and/or the Department of Human Services.
It's mandatory for educators to report accusations of child abuse under Colorado law.
The three employees — who were identified by the DA's office — will be let go, pending approval from members of the Board of Education during Monday's meeting, the Elizabeth School District said.
A fourth employee was put on administrative leave on Sept. 27. That teacher will remain on leave at this time, according to the Elizabeth School District.
RE: Elizabeth Middle School Investigation— 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office (@DA18th) December 8, 2023
As with any pending case, it's important to note that all defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty. Members of the media (and public) are welcome to follow these cases as they progress.
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“While we recognize these individuals’ many positive, past contributions to the school community, we have high expectations that our staff will follow legal expectations and board policies in keeping our students safe and investigating any and all reports of concerning behavior,” Snowberger said.
Since the three Elizabeth Middle School leaders were suspended a month ago, interim Principal Kimberly Runyan, interim Administrator Mark Carara and interim Athletic Director Jim McCoin took over in their absence.