Watch CBS News

Elizabeth Schools administrators let go, facing charges of failure to report child abuse

Elizabeth Middle School CBS News Colorado

Three educators have been let go by the Elizabeth School District. The former principal, assistant principal, and a counselor from Elizabeth Middle School are facing charges of failure to report suspected child abuse, filed today by the 18th Judicial District Attorney's office. Last month, they were all placed on administrative leave.

The charges stem from failing to report allegations made last spring that a teacher had engaged in inappropriate physical contact with a student.

The three administrators are Principal Brett Michel, Assistant Principal Jeff Sparrow, and Counselor Shannon Paxton, according to online court records.

In a news release, the district said it has "decided to separate from three staff members currently on suspension from their duties at Elizabeth Middle School."  The separations are pending approval by the Board of Education at a meeting scheduled for December 11.

School staff are obligated under mandatory reporting laws to report abuse and safety concerns to law enforcement.  The administrators facing the failure to report charges are Brett Michel, who served until last month as principal, Jeff Sparrow, assistant principal, and Shannon Paxton, counselor. 

The teacher at the center of these allegations has not been charged yet and has been on administrative leave since September.

Elizabeth Schools Superintendent Dan Snowberger issued a statement saying in part, "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 reports of concerning behavior."

Since the announcement of the criminal investigation in early November, Elizabeth Middle School has been served by Interim Principal Kimberly Runyan, Interim Administrator Mark Carara and Interim Athletic Director Jim McCoin.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.