St. Paul teacher behind controversial online posts retires

Published 9:44 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016

By Solvejg Wastvedt FM

ST. PAUL — A St. Paul teacher who was put on leave earlier this year after controversial online posts has left the district.

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Former Como Park High School teacher Theodore Olson retired from the district effective Aug. 18. In a settlement agreement, St. Paul said it will restore five days’ pay to Olson and remove three letters from his personnel file.

Writings on Olson’s personal blog and Facebook page stirred controversy in the district in March. Some parents said the postings displayed hostility toward students of color.

On his Facebook page, Olson expressed frustration about a lack of classroom discipline: “Since we now have no backup, no functional location to send kids who won’t quit gaming, setting up fights, selling drugs, whoring trains, or cyber bullying, we’re screwed.”

In another post, he complained about campaigns “to deconstruct adult authority in my building by enabling student misconduct,” and asking how teachers should be blamed for “the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Organizers with Black Lives Matter St. Paul had threatened a “shut down” of Como Park High School unless Olson was fired for the posts.

Olson was put on administrative leave and the protest called off after then-Superintendent Valeria Silva met with a Black Lives Matter St. Paul organizer Rashad Turner.