BENNINGTON — The principal of the Bennington Elementary School officially resigned from her position in a letter presented to the SVSU Elementary School Board on Thursday, effective at the end of her contract this coming June. Board Chairman Christopher Murphy confirmed that principal Elizabeth Grunberg has been on leave and away from the position for “some time.”
In a letter dated Jan. 3, Grunberg outlined to the Southwest Vermont Union Elementary School District’s her decision to resign.
“Please accept this letter as my formal notice of resignation from the position of principal at Bennington Elementary School,” Grunberg wrote. “Being the principal at Bennington Elementary School has been a great privilege and invaluable learning experience. I am grateful for the opportunity and will cherish the time I spent with the Bennington elementary community. However, it is time for me to move on to my next challenge.”
When reached for comment by telephone, SVSU Elementary Board Chairman Christopher Murphy acknowledged Grunberg’s pending resignation and added, “She hasn’t been present at the school for some time.”
Murphy went on to say that two vice-principals are currently running the elementary school in Grunberg’s absence. SVSU Public Information Coordinator Katie West confirmed Grunberg’s absence in an email. West told the Banner, “Principal Grunberg has been out on approved requested leave.” She did not reveal when that leave started or how long Grunberg would be gone.
Further inquiries for comment from members of the school board and the elementary school were left unanswered.
Grunberg’s decision comes amid ongoing concern over student mental health and behavior in the school and district, first reported by VTDigger, finding that from September 2021 through October 2022 police were called to the school nearly 20 times for student behavioral issues. In one such incident in October 2022, police were called to respond to a student who had made a threat — only to end up addressing a different student, who was making profane and violent threats and was “out of control,” according to a police report. In that incident, which had not been previously reported, Grunberg “expressed frustration with lack of support in trying to deal with the students and their behavioral issues,” in the words of the officer involved.
There has been no official connection between Grunberg’s resignation and the ongoing mental health and behavioral issues at the school; no board member, spokesperson or Grunberg has publicly made that connection.
Contacted by the Banner on Friday, she declined to talk about the resignation beyond what she wrote in her letter. When asked whether her resignation was related to the mental health issues at the school, Grunberg responded, “I really can’t talk about that.”
SVSU recently set up a facility in the former Beech Street School building on South Stream Road to provide temporary mental health support for struggling students. That facility is intended to provide short-term clinical support, counseling, and education to students who need it, the Banner recently reported. The facility has three staff and will serve roughly 15 students at a time.