GRPS didn’t report child abuse allegations to PD

Southwest Community Campus.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools never called police after a teacher was fired for allegedly abusing young students. District representatives say they didn’t need to.

Andres Santiago was dismissed earlier this year after an investigation that, according to school records obtained by 24 Hour News 8, never went beyond school walls.

Santiago is accused of yelling at kindergarten students, grabbing children and on one occasion shaking a child back and forth “like a wet noodle.” He is accused of grabbing students on multiple occasions in September and December 2014.

But the allegations, the district says, did not rise to the level that the police would have needed to be involved.

The district’s public safety department internally investigated the allegations in September, according to records obtained via the Freedom of Information Act. There were no reports from December.

District officials declined an on-camera interview on Wednesday, but did provide the following statement:

“We contacted the state about our obligations and we were informed that these situations do not fall under mandatory reporting. While this is the case, we believe it is best practice to report a situation like this and we are communicating that expectation to our staff.”

A representative from the state Department of Education says it would only need to be notified if and when criminal charges came into play.

No one from the GRPS Board of Education would comment on the situation, saying it was a personnel matter.

Speaking to 24 Hour News 8 over the phone last month, Santiago denied the allegations. He said they were not true and this isn’t over.

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