Fired by GMUSD board, Merrill awaits trial in jail

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

After a 58-minute executive session last night, the Green Mountain Unified School District board voted to dismiss Norman Merrill II, who has taught middle school at Green Mountain High for many years. Merrill is in jail in northern Vermont awaiting trial on a three-count federal indictment involving the creation of child pornography.

The GM board meeting to dismiss Merrill with Venissa White speaking at the public comment period.

The agenda for last night’s meeting consisted of two public comment periods and the executive session. The board used the exemption for “a disciplinary or dismissal action against a public officer or employee” to go into the closed door meeting.

When the board reopened the public meeting, the motion was made that “the Green Mountain Unified School District board dismiss Norman Merrill from employment on grounds of inappropriate behavior for children which is conduct unbecoming of a teacher in reference to title 16 VSA § 1752.”

Recording secretary Amber Wilson called the roll and all 10 members present at the school and on Zoom voted yes. One member was absent.

Merrill, 45, of Chester, was arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges related to the production and possession of child sexual abuse material, also known as child pornography.

His home was searched on Wednesday, May 11 and he was arrested by Chester Police on Thursday, May 19 at his home, then transferred to the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans. Merrill was arraigned before federal Judge Kevin Doyle via video conference on Monday, May 23 and pled not guilty. Doyle weighed the factors for and against releasing him pending trial and decided that the risk to public safety was too great and sent him back to Northwest. Pre-trial motions in the case are due by Aug. 22, 2022.

In the public comment period at the end of the meeting, Venissa White, a former school employee, said she wanted to “acknowledge the sadness and betrayal that teachers and the board are feeling.” White also pointed to “multiple online comments” referring to Merrill’s behavior in the past, which seem to have “gone unheard.”

Acknowledging that not everything on the internet is true, White wondered what had occurred, what was documented and what was done about them?

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