REEDS SPRING, Mo.– In case you need a recap, Jodie Gronvold, a former principal for the Reeds Spring Elementary School accused Reeds Spring Superintendent Michael Mason of sexual harassment she says she endured back in 2015. The case would eventually settle out of court at the tune of 500 thousand dollars. Gronvold resigned after the settlement. Mason’s contract would later be renewed by the school board.
Jay Kirksey was at one point Gronvold’s attorney. He is now representing a second former Reeds Spring School District employee.
“We’re looking forward to a trial in front of a jury that can hear all of the facts,” Kirksey said Wednesday.
His new client, Janie Dennison, claims the school’s administration retaliated against her after she vocally supported Gronvold and the lawsuit against Mason. According to Kirksey, it was after voicing her position on the scandal she received a Performance Improvement Plan, a last resort type penalty Kirksey and his client argue came with no warning as an excuse to tarnish her professional reputation.
“If you’re really trying to address something, you’re going to see subsequent meetings. You’re going to meet regularly with the employee. You’re going to say ‘Hey you know that issue we talked about? Let’s have meetings to see how you can get better.’ Those meetings did not occur,” Kirksey argued.
Kirksey says when Dennison reported this alleged retaliation to the district, she was told her appeal would be heard by the superintendent– Mason– the person Dennison is claiming retaliated.
“The accused should never be disciplining the accuser,” he said.
Kirksey says that system puts accusers in a lose-lose position.
“I don’t mean to be hokey but it’s just sad. You expect your leaders to be the example,” he said.