At a packed school board meeting last night, many Denison residents spoke in support of high school teacher Crystal Holt, who’s been placed on leave after using a racial slur in a class discussion.
Current students told how much Holt has helped them, while former student Monica Lara said Holt went to the authorities for her after she was sexually abused by a teacher. Lara said she felt “attacked and alone.”
“However, Mrs. Holt was one of the few people who believed in me and uplifted me throughout the long legal process,” Lara says. “Because of her help, there is a man who will no longer be able to abuse another child in a school setting and a girl who got to reclaim her life back.”
The school board heard comments about Holt from more than 20 people as it investigates the situation. Another supporter, Rhonda McGregor says she’s known Holt for 12 years. “She is nothing but an encourager. She’s inspiring. She brings a lesson to life. She engages kids,” McGregor says. “She has taught me so much about just being able to interact.”
Some students at Denison High staged a walk-out on Tuesday, demanding an outside investigation of diversity at the school — and that Holt be fired.
(Thanks to Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio)