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SHS teacher accused of slapping student pleads no contest

A former Superior High School teacher accused of slapping a student on the head in a classroom may avoid a criminal conviction.

Gretchen Hattimae Hexum, 44, of Esko, Minn., pleaded no contest Friday in Douglas County Circuit Court to one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. A one-year deferred judgment of conviction agreement was entered. If Hexum complies with all laws, pays a $50 and court costs by March 3 and follows her bail conditions --including no violent or abusive contact with the student --the charge would be amended to an ordinance violation.

According to the criminal complaint: Hexum slapped the male student in another teacher's classroom at Superior High School Sept. 15, 2017, while she was reenacting how the student had been behaving earlier in the day.

Following the slap, she made a comment about it being a "love tap" and appeared to try to give the student a hug. The student told liaison officer Tom Johnson with the Superior Police Department that the slap did not hurt, but he did not give permission for Hexum to slap him. The student told Johnson that if it had been a different teacher, he might see it differently.

The Superior School Board terminated Hexum's employment with the Superior School District Oct. 2, 2017.