Charges dropped against former Lycée teacher who was removed by police

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Charges filed against a former teacher at Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans charter school have been dropped.

Darleen Mipro pleaded not guilty to the charges of criminal trespassing and disturbing the peace on Dec. 3, days after her Nov. 30 firing in which she was escorted by police from the school’s Patton Street campus.

On Thursday, Nancy Colomb, deputy clerk in the Municipal Court clerk’s office, said the city attorney decided not to pursue the charges.

“They felt there wasn’t enough to go forward with the case,” she said.

Robert Harvey Sr., Mipro’s attorney, said that the charges of criminal trespassing and disturbing the peace were dismissed against his client during a Wednesday court hearing.

Mipro’s trial, originally set for Feb. 6 was pushed back to March 6 after the court failed to deliver subpoenas to several witnesses, an assistant in Harvey’s office said.

Colomb confirmed Thursday the case has been closed.

“She won,” said Harvey.

Ongoing, however, is Mipro’s defamation lawsuit.

In response to the eventful firing, which included the police escort as parents were collecting children from the school, Mipro filed a character defamation lawsuit against the school and two board members — chairman Jean Montes and member Paige Saleun.

In the complaint, Mipro claims she was held in the school by Montes and not allowed to collect her son or belongings for a period of time. The complaint also alleges school officials sent out an email to parents while Mipro was in the office stating she had been fired for “engaging in misconduct”.

Mipro’s lawsuit accuses school leaders of damaging her professional reputation.

Mipro began working at the school in August 2011 under founding chief executive Jill Otis, who resigned last April. She was chair of the English department and the school’s special education coordinator. Otis’ replacement, Jean-Jacques Grandiere resigned in November, about a week before Mipro was fired, leaving the school leaderless the day Mipro was fired.

Mirpo’s complaint states she was told by Julianne Ruocco, the school’s director of finance and operations, she was being fired for misconduct.  The complaint also states Montes was present at the school at that time, and later arrived in the room with Mipro.

In January, The Rebuilding Trust Working Group, a group of parents, called for Montes and Saleun to resign from the board, or at least recuse themselves until after the lawsuit had been resolved.

Montes and Saleun continue to serve on the school’s board.

On Thursday, however, a committee of Lycée’s board said it plans to recommend that all board members be required to reapply for their seats if they want to stay past June.

That plan is expected to go before the full board for a vote on Monday, at the school’s next regularly scheduled board meeting.

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