Sub accused of slur won’t work in Caledonia

Kraft Meadows Middle School. (March 4, 2014)

CALEDONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — A substitute teacher who allegedly used racial slurs toward sixth-grade students will not teach at a Caledonia school again, the superintendent told 24 Hour News 8.

The district’s investigation into the allegations wrapped up Wednesday and officials decided the sub would not be called back to the district.

Superintendent Randy Rodriguez said that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the allegations are true. He said Wednesday that the district can ask a substitute not to return for several reasons.

Rodriguez said that counselors and teachers were helping the students in the sixth-grade classroom where the incident allegedly happened Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re continuing to monitor [those students],” said Rodriguez. “Our principal is monitoring that today. I think our kids are going to respond well, but obviously this is a disturbing event for them, and there’s a lot of rumors and a lot of things that have to be sorted through with them, but I’m confident — we have great counselors there — that those students will sort that through and get back on the right track and moving in the right direction.”

According to parents of students in the classroom, the substitute allegedly singled out a small group of sixth-graders, called one the N-word and made inappropriate religious and cultural remarks to others.

Rodriguez said Wednesday, although the district’s part of the investigation is complete, he can’t confirm whether the substitute used the N-word.

“I don’t know that she did or didn’t yet, to be completely honest with you,” Rodriguez said. “We’re going to send our investigation on and there will be some discussions with the employee from the employer to really get to the bottom of that.”

The substitute in question isn’t employed by Caledonia Community Schools. She works for a private company called Professional Education Services Group (PESG), which provides substitutes for many districts across Michigan as well as in two other states.

PESG is the group that placed the sub in question in Caledonia five times since March 2013.

The superintendent said he is not aware of any problems with that particular substitute before Tuesday’s alleged incident.

24 Hour News 8 called PESG Wednesday and spoke to Fredericka Hayes. Hayes said she was not in the Caledonia area, would not be available for an on-camera interview and that no one else from the company was authorized to speak on the subject.

Hayes sent a written statement. In a followup phone call, she would not confirm who the sub was, if she is still employed, how long she has worked for the company or if she had had any problems in the past.

The written statement read in part:

“The information shared by the school district is of great concern to us and does not meet our expectations of service.”

The superintendent, meanwhile, said the sub’s actions will not undo the work the district has done to teach diversity and tolerance.

“I think we just have a strong community that continues to push our character and what we do. And again we’re going to work together to resolve this conflict,” Rodriguez said.

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