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De Soto community rallies around principal who resigned

DE SOTO, MO (KTVI) – The beloved De Soto School District principal whom parents last week said was forced to resign, spoke out for the first time Tuesday.

Former Vineland Elementary School principal Adam Grindstaff said he was shocked by the manner in which the situation unfolded, but now that he has legal help and the support of the community, he isn't backing down.

"I miss all of you," Grindstaff said to dozens of parents, children and grandparents alike as they gathered at Walther Park in De Soto. "You are my big family."

The resignation comes after the school district investigated allegations against Grindstaff for using district funds for purchasing some items for school use.

"I was shocked. I wish every day I was up there," Grindstaff said.

Grindstaff wouldn't go into details about those allegations or whether he was forced to resign as many angry parents said he was.

"We were all betrayed," said Bradley Andrews, whose two grandchildren attend the school. "Don't do it behind our backs. This is our community; we pay for your salary, okay? Don't turn your backs to us."

Grindstaff's former students said that they have every bit of confidence that he will be their principal once again.

"He's going to come back because he didn't do anything wrong to make him leave," said third-grader Makenzi Missey.

Grindstaff's attorney, Mike Lowry, said that the district will be facing a lawsuit, which is being filed as soon as Wednesday.

"We haven't seen any particulars, we don't know exactly what's it about," said Lowry, "they failed to follow their own guidelines, failed to follow statutory guidelines."

Fox 2 News reached out to district Superintendent Josh Isaacson for comment. He offered the following statement over the phone:

"We recognize that the community is concerned about the resignation, but we cannot comment in great detail about this personnel matter. We are continuing to be transparent and are compliant with any type of request. We wish him the best and are focusing on ending the school year on a positive note.”

The community group behind gathering support for Grindstaff told Fox 2 they were recently granted permission to submit a petition to the state requesting an audit that would provide details of district finances. The petition would require 750 signatures.