MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A Washburn High School teacher said she was simply trying to record Minneapolis police making an arrest, but officers felt she was getting in the way, so they arrested her. Later, she found herself out of a job until the school had a change of heart.
Crystal Spring has directed the Social Justice Black Box theater program at Washburn since 2008. She will keep her job, but parents and former students at a school board meeting Tuesday said if she wouldn't have had a vocal and large group of supporters behind her, the outcome could have been very different. They brought into question the fact that at one point, the district was ready to fire her without a meeting, before a conviction.
Spring was on her way home from theater performances May 19 when she saw an arrest underway. Employees at Wendy’s had called police reporting a knife-wielding man in the parking lot had slashed an employee’s tires. According to the police report, Spring was told numerous times not to follow officers and stop interrupting. When she didn't listen, she was taken into custody.
"She was trying to ensure that another African American male wasn't brutalized or shot and killed. I don't understand could find wrong with that,” Tito Wilson said.
A few weeks later, she says she was informed of her termination from Minneapolis Public Schools, the district citing conduct unbecoming of a teacher.
On Tuesday, interim superintendent Michael Thomas announced Spring would be keeping her job, and the district would review their termination process. Her supporters still showed up to the school board meeting to question the lack of due process in her case.
“If you listen to the community, listen to the teachers you will know that many respectable, amazing teachers that i admire have been pushed out and they effectively serve students of color,” Alissa Paris said.
One witness to Spring’s arrest claimed she deserves the obstruction charges, adding she repeatedly got in the way of police, yelling at them and calling them racist. The witness is African American herself, and said police were just trying to do their job and get a dangerous man off the streets.