Theo Olson, the Como Park High teacher whose social-media posts over behavior-related issues were assailed recently by Black Lives Matter St. Paul, is on paid administrative leave, the St. Paul School District said Wednesday.
The leave began on Wednesday, but the reasons for it were not disclosed.
“I cannot share the reason why, as that is private personnel data,” said Toya Stewart Downey, a district spokeswoman.
Last week, Black Lives Matter St. Paul threatened a “shutdown action” at Como Park if Olson were not fired, after he expressed frustration on Facebook about the district not providing enough support to deal with “kids who won’t quit gaming, setting up fights, selling drugs, whoring trains or cyber bullying.”
On Monday, group members, including organizer Rashad Turner, met with Superintendent Valeria Silva, and she announced later in the day that Turner had “chosen to discontinue” any planned protest after what she described as a “productive and positive conversation.”
Silva made no mention then of Olson, who was at work that day.
Turner said Wednesday that the move was a “great first step” and that “we need to rid the district of all employees who share the belief in the racial bias and disdain that Mr. Olson shared so comfortably.”
Olson, who teaches special education and made no mention of race in his posts, could not be reached to comment.
Reports of a possible teacher sickout at Como in support of Olson circulated on social media late Wednesday.
A veteran teacher who asked not to be identified said that teachers discussed the idea but rejected it because they want to be there for their students, and also have parent-teacher conferences Thursday.
At Como Park, Roy Magnuson, a fellow teacher who has voiced concerns about the need for greater expectations of students and consequences for those who misbehave, said: “I support Theo Olson.”