Michigan School District Finally Takes Action Against Proselytizing Substitute Teacher April 16, 2015

Michigan School District Finally Takes Action Against Proselytizing Substitute Teacher

Last week, I posted about a substitute teacher at Michigan’s Hart High School who couldn’t stop preaching the Bible instead of doing his job.

The Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists (MACRA) sent a letter to the principal over this religious tract distributed to students by a substitute named Mr. Meersma:

At the time, the principal said the school took “appropriate disciplinary action” without explaining anything more. It wasn’t a very satisfying response, given that it was possible Meersma was still on the list of possible subs.

The Superintendent of the District has finally weighed in on the matter, telling MACRA’s Mitch Kahle via email this week that there really is a resolution:

Hart Public Schools has completed its investigation regarding the complaint. We have concluded that the allegations in fact did occur. It took us longer to investigate than we had originally anticipated. As the week progressed information that was relevant to the investigation continued to surface. In order to do a thorough investigation, I deemed it necessary to continue seeking and receiving information that was still forthcoming. As a result of the investigation, the substitute will no longer be allowed sub for Hart Public Schools. We followed the formal complaint process that [Professional Education Services Group] provides and we communicated clearly with PESG that Mr. Meersma is not allowed to substitute at Hart Public Schools.

Hart Public School is taking this issue seriously, and as a result, we will be reminding staff on the importance of honoring the issue of the separation of church and state. We also will be adding this topic to our beginning of the year reminders that we discuss with staff every year. Furthermore, the issue has caused us to contemplate the need for a handout for substitute teachers that outline’s the do’s and don’ts on this issue (as well as other issues) when substituting here at Hart Public Schools.

Now that’s a real response. That’s how you take a complaint seriously. Good for the district for doing the right thing, and good for MACRA for taking action on behalf of a concerned parent.


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