Parents rally behind recently resigned Vineland Elementary principal

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DE SOTO, MO (KPLR) – A fight to bring back a beloved principal.

Parents in the De Soto School District are upset because they believe Adam Grindstaff, the now former principal for Vineland Elementary School, was forced to resign last week.

Several angry parents gathered at a community hall Tuesday night to figure out how they can help Grindstaff get his job back.

"He made it feel safe for my kids to come here," said Patricia Steward. "Any issues that I've had, he's always been there."

Last week, parents received a letter from the district addressing the matter:

"As a public entity committed to fiscal responsibility, the District takes seriously our obligation to use public funds efficiently and effectively to provide the best possible education to our students.

"Recently, the District conducted a thorough investigation into allegations regarding Mr. Grindstaff and the use of District monies. Although the District cannot provide specific details out of respect for employee privacy, Mr. Grindstaff was offered his statutory right to a public hearing to challenge the results of the investigation. Instead, Mr. Grindstaff elected to resign from his position as of April 28, 2017 and the Board voted to accept Mr. Grindstaff’s resignation.

"We regret that this situation occurred and that this action was necessary to take. We will continue to work hard to earn and maintain the trust of the community, and we appreciate all of the support offered by our families and students."

But the parents disagreed with the allegations.

"There is absolutely no way he did this," said Christina Kennedy. "The purchases that were made were a vacuum cleaner, a soccer ball, and salt. And the vacuum cleaner was supposed to be for general school use."

"I feel like it was a bullying tactic by the administrators because he stood up for the community," said Rhonda Logan.

During our interviews, the parents pointed to Assistant Superintendent Dr. Clint Freeman as he pulled into the school parking lot.

A Fox 2 news crew approached Freeman as he walked toward us but instead of talking with us, he handed us a copy of the same letter that was sent to parents, telling us that "everything is in there," as he walked away from our camera.

Fox 2 also reached out to Superintendent Josh Isaacson about the allegations. He responded via email with an electronic copy of the aforementioned letter.

Grindstaff responded to our request for comment after our story aired in the 10 p.m hour, stating, "I cannot comment as per my lawyer's request but you can call Mike Lowry at the Lowry Law Firm. I am sorry for my inability to comment."

The parents are putting up another petition online asking the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to launch a full investigation into this matter.

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