BACKFOOT, Idaho - It's been months since the Snake River School District ruled that tenured science teacher Elaine Asmus could continue teaching at Snake River High School. The school board ruled that Asmus could return to her duties with one year of probation, but according to her lawyer, Paul Stark, probation guidelines were ambiguous.
Stark said Asmus made several attempts to speak to the board. When Asmus finally learned the details of her probation, she had concerns. Stark provided one example of this: Under contract provisions, Asmus would have to record all interaction with her coworkers on a daily basis and would have to submit a full report every Monday.
"They appeared to be punitive and had no purpose other than to make her life difficult," said Stark.
Asmus expressed these concerns to the board and was looking to negotiate terms before the deadline to sign her contract expired. Stark said the school board told Asmus she needed to file a grievance in order to negotiate terms. While waiting more than the routine five-day response period, Asmus missed her signing deadline and was told that her grievance was untimely and not properly filed.
Stark and Asmus are now weighing their options.
"A lawsuit is possible. Throughout the whole process, even before, during, and after the hearing, the school district has circumvented certain constitutional guarantees to due process," said Stark. "The probation plan itself was punitive, vindictive and unprofessional. There is a desire to collaborate as adults and talk this over, but it is apparent that the district is not willing to do that."
This dispute has been months in the making. Asmus first appeared in front of the school board after an argument with a fellow teacher over a piece of equipment. That teacher also happened to be the superintendent's wife.
Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News has made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the district for a comment.