Investigation into Saranac teacher allegations


SARANAC, Mich. (WOOD) – Once again, an investigation is underway at Saranac Community Schools into allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a staff member and former students.

A letter sent to parents Tuesday says a staff member has been placed on paid, non-disciplinary administrative leave. The letter does not say what building that person works in, but 24 Hour News 8 learned she is a teacher at the high school.

The letter says the teacher has been accused of having inappropriate relationships with former students more than a decade ago.

The allegations came to light only recently. The district’s letter sent to parents said the district notified the sheriff’s department immediately upon becoming aware of the allegations.

The teacher will not be performing any work duties or attending any school events during the investigation, the letter says.

“We have not received any information that would compromise the safety or security of our current students,” the letter reads in part.

Inside woodtv.com: Read the letter to parents (pdf)

This is the third allegation in recent years of an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student at Saranac High School.

“I’ve actually considered possibly transferring my kids out,” said mother Olivia Day, who has a student at the school. “As far as what happens with all these allegations going on, I don’t know. That’s the uncomfortable part for me. I know the school’s not going to physically put him in any immediate danger, but I can’t control what the teachers are doing.”

“If it was happening to them (students), are they going to be able to step up and say, ‘Hey, Mom, this is what’ going on’? You don’t know if they are brave enough to step up,” Day continued.

Last year, teacher Alison Hoendervanger was placed on leave for allegedly  having a sexual relationship with a student. A Target 8 investigation earlier this year revealed text messages between Hoendervanger and the student proved the sexual relationship. She was never charged because the student involved was of age during the relationship.

And teacher Krag Sanfod was sentenced to jail time for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student in 2010.

“The District continues to take the safety of ALL students seriously, and will not tolerate inappropriate staff member activities involving students past, present or future,” the letter reads in part. “Even though this allegation is being made regarding alleged actions from more than a decade ago, we take this allegation very seriously and are cooperating fully with local authorities in the investigation.”

“It really makes you wonder what is going through their (the teacher’s) mind to think it’s OK,” Day said. “I honestly hope they can figure out what’s leading to these circumstances happening, and that they can get the proper people in the school that aren’t going to be doing this.”

Saranac Community Schools Superintendent Maury Geiger said he would not be available for an interview Tuesday.

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