Grafton School District superintendent to resign after popular teacher removed from classroom

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GRAFTON -- FOX6 News has learned Dr. Mel Lightner, superintendent of the Grafton School District, has resigned. It was a shocking twist at the end of a meeting of the Grafton School District's Board of Education on Monday, May 2nd. Well over 100 people were there in support of Bob Maronde, an elementary school music teacher recently removed from the classroom.

According to a statement released to FOX6 News, the Board of Education asked for Lightner's resignation, and it was offered by Lightner and then accepted by the board.

The statement indicates that Lightner's resignation will involve a severance agreement that ends a multiple year contract he currently has with the district.

The severance package will include one year of pay and one year of insurance, effective immediately.

Lightner will not be with the district for the remainder of the school year.

The Board of Education is in the process of commencing a search for Lightner's replacement.

The meeting Monday evening was a closed-door meeting, so those that showed up to support Maronde had no idea what to expect when school board officials emerged.

Cheers filled the Grafton High School Library when it was announced that Lightner would resign.

"I had no idea that this was what was going to happen," Erin Petersen said.

Bob Maronde

Bob Maronde

Those on hand for the board meeting Monday evening were there in support of Bob Maronde, a music teacher at Woodview Elementary School. Maronde says he was told to resign -- and not offered a contract for next year after an incident in his classroom in mid-April.

FOX6 News was told Maronde would be on paid administrative leave for the remainder of this school year.

Maronde said in April, in his classroom, two fifth-grade boys weren't listening.

Maronde said while briefly separating them from the rest of the class, a door he closed made a lot of noise. Then, at the end of class, Maronde said he saw a third boy holding a kazoo near another student's eye.

"I immediately reached down and grabbed it as quickly as I can, and pulled it away. As soon as I started to pull away, I didn't have a grip, and the kazoo went flying off into the wild blue yonder. I will yell at basketball games (as a coach at Grafton High School) and do all that. But there is a big difference between coaching in a basketball game and teaching eight, nine and 10-year-old kids. I've been teaching 40 years and I have never, never, never once been called in for what's happened in my music classroom. Never.  This is the first time," Maronde said.

Woodview Elementary School

Woodview Elementary School

Maronde said he didn't think much of the incident until he was asked by the superintendent to resign.

maronde

Maronde told FOX6 News he was offered a deal -- where he would resign, and be allowed to coach the basketball team at Grafton High School for one more year.

He did not agree to that.

"I teach them 'don't give up, don't quit.' So we decided I would not sign the resignation," Maronde said.

"I'm overwhelmed. I guess I'm truly blessed to live here. To have a community that comes together like this is really special," Maronde said of the support he received on Monday night.

"Mr. Maronde deserves the support. He is so involved with the students. He's touched the lives of every resident somehow. He was the best teacher I ever had," Jennifer Gelinskey said.

Bob Maronde

Terry Ziegler, the school board's president, admitted that Maronde's case was one of the things that factored into the decision to ask for Lightner's resignation.

"It was involved, of course. When you get a crowd this size, of course that reverberates," Ziegler said.

But Ziegler said there were other factors as well -- that some parents are aware of.

"Really thought Lightner needed to go. He`s treated many people poorly in our district, made people resign -- and it`s the right thing. It`s a very good choice they made tonight," Danielle Mossman said.

Lightner's resignation is effective immediately.

8 comments

  • Opinion8d

    So they are going to pay this guy probably over $150K for salary/benefits/insurance when he decided to resign (or forced out). Guess who pays for that….the taxpayers!!! Who approved his hire? Or approved his leaving?? Are they held accountable??? Was there a clause written in his contract that he could be relieved for cause at any time?? Under this type of deal, the Super has no accountability to anyone -if they don’t like his decision, he’s get paid to leave just like he’s actually working….and all on the taxpayers dime. Wonder if that could cover a new rook, doors, security system, etc……

    • Jay

      If they didn’t offer a severance, they would be spending tax money instead on the inevitable wrongful termination suit that the superintendent would have brought against the district. That would have been undoubtedly more expensive and dragged out much longer. Not saying he was wrongfully terminated, it seems he was very RIGHTfully terminated, but just bringing the suit would cost money to defend against.

      • Libsareliars

        Funny if this guy had been working in the private sector and got fired, he would have received a kick in the a&$ out the door without getting insurance and pay for a year. Only in government can you continue receiving a salary after you are fired.

    • Z

      150k? That’s it? Grafton gets off easy compared to the payout Kenosha Unified gave to the racist ex-superintendent Dr.Michelle Hancock. They have her 500k.

  • Laura

    If the school board lets that stand after 40 years of teaching they should all resign! I don’t have any children in that district but for him to be forced out of his job because of uncontrollable brats is a disgrace. All schools as a whole need to get a grip these kids think they can do what the want. Why anyone would go to college and go into debt to teach these rotten brats I don’t get. I wouldn’t put up with these kids for 1 minute.

    • Z

      Exactly the reason I left after barely 5 years of teaching. Gutless turd administrators who have removed all accountability from the students and make the teachers the whipping boys.

  • PackerFan

    Shame on Grafton for even hiring the guy in the first place. He’s done this everywhere he’s been and the BOE would have known this. Everyone in the Fox Valley rolls their eyes every time a district hires him. It’s the movie Groundhog Day.

  • Lucy

    This superintendent was an arrogant, egotistical jerk. I do have kids in the district and I have had personal dealings with him. He has no children and he talks to everyone as if they are beneath him. He would state something in a meeting or to your face and would do the exact opposite if the same situation arises again. I am happy to see him leave. Grafton school district will be much better off.

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