Hocker Grove administrator named in ACLU lawsuit on National Walkout Day issues resigns from Shawnee Mission School District

Witnesses say administrators attempted to cut the National Walkout Day demonstration at Hocker Grove off early.

The Hocker Grove Middle School assistant principal who the ACLU of Kansas says violated students’ First Amendment rights by trying to censor speeches during the National School Walkout demonstrations in April has left the district.

Alicia Gripp had been with the Shawnee Mission School District for four years.

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education approved Alisha Gripp’s resignation as part of the human resources consent agenda at its Monday meeting. That consent agenda also included a provision waiving the $1,000 fee employees are typically charged for submitting a resignation so close to the start of a new school year for a “specified staff member.” The district said it could not reveal the identity of that staff member because it was “part of a personnel record.”

The ACLU of Kansas’s lawsuit against the district, filed in federal court late last month, says that Gripp tried to stop a student speaker after she mentioned gun violence during the demonstration, telling her, “No shooting, no deaths. If you can’t comply with the rules, you’ll be removed.”

When another student mentioned gun violence in a subsequent speech, Gripp moved to end the event several minutes before it was set to conclude.

Gripp was one of two associate principals at Hocker Grove. The district says that her position is currently open.

Gripp’s departure isn’t the only staffing change coming to the school next year. Current principal Ben Pretz is leaving for a job in the Basehor-Linwood School District central office. He’s being replaced by Christopher Case, who most recently served in the Cape Girardeau Public School District.

Hocker Grove was one of only two of the district’s five middle schools that had two associate principals on staff last year. Trailridge, Indian Woods and Indian Hills all had just one associate principal on staff.

Gripp’s LinkedIn profile now lists her as a “Founding Principal” at Citizens of the World Charter Schools. CWC Kansas City, which is affiliated with the Los Angeles-based Citizens of the World Charter Schools organization, opened its first facility in the metro on Broadway Blvd. at the start of the 2016-17 school year. That school serves around 300 students in kindergarten and first grade.

Gripp had worked as an assistant principal in the Independence School District for three years prior to joining Shawnee Mission in 2014 — a year after then-Superintendent Jim Hinson made the move from Independence to Shawnee Mission.