HARTFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — Hartford Public Schools has been the subject of two recent federal lawsuits, one for each academic year the current superintendent has been in charge, 28 Hour News 8 has uncovered.
Hartford Superintendent Andy Hubbard wouldn’t talk with 24 Hour News 8 on Thursday. His secretary said at first he was on the phone and then that he was in a meeting. He also didn’t return calls requesting a meeting.
The lawsuits both name the superintendent and the district separately. They were filed by two different people in reference to separate incidents.
ALLEGED BULLY’S MOTHER WORKS AT DISTRICT
24 Hour News 8 reported Wednesday that the district, Hartford Middle School Principal Joel Passenger, Hartford High School Principal David Janicki and Superintendent Hubbard were all named in a federal lawsuit alleging the district and some staff knew a student was being bullied — allegedly saying he thought about murdering a girl and cutting up her body — but didn’t take the proper steps to stop it.
Thursday, 24 Hour News 8 learned the alleged bully’s mother works for the district and that middle school staff had to call the police regarding the boy’s father for a previous incident involving the alleged bully’s brother.
The police report states that the boy’s father was charged with disturbing the peace for incidents that allegedly happened at the middle school in 2011. The report says the alleged bully’s father went to the middle school after his other son was given a lunch detention and served a peanut butter sandwich. The boy’s father apparently showed up at the school and yelled at staff. The report says the boy’s father stated the school staff had been “bullying” his son and that the staff had been “treating his son like s*** all year.”
It also said the boy’s father said that because he was a special education student, the district had allegedly “signed a contract” saying the student was “not to have any detentions and not to have peanut butter,” which was described as the standard cold lunch for detentions.
The police report says that the boy’s father threatened the school principal.
“At times I was expecting him to assault me as his fists were balled up and he was beyond reasoning,” the principal said in the report.
EX-SECRETARY FILES SUIT OVER ALLEGED MASTURBATION INCIDENT
Kathy Anchor, a former secretary at the middle school, filed suit against the district in 2014 saying that she was wrongfully fired for being a whistleblower. Her suit alleges she was fired after reporting to police that a middle school student was allegedly masturbating at school and charged at her.
The suit says that the student was sent to the office. Anchor heard him making “strange noises” and walked in on him with his genitals fully exposed. She said she told him she was going to call the principal and that the student allegedly “began charging at her saying you’re not calling anyone.”
The suit goes on to allege that instead of permanently expelling the student, the superintendent said the student would be allowed to transfer to another district, saying about the alleged incident , “We aren’t taking it as a threat.”
The suit says the district claimed it went to the police but didn’t, and when Anchor told cops what happened, the superintendent allegedly fired her for violating the student’s privacy.
The alleged violation came because Anchor took the statements she and the statement the high school principal gave to administrators to police. The suit said the superintendent told Anchor she violated the student’s privacy by giving police a copy of those statements, despite claiming they had reported the incident to police.
In the police report about the alleged masturbation incident, Anchor said the boy admitted to the principal that he was “playing with himself.” She also said she “truly felt threatened.”
The report also states that the boy’s parents wouldn’t let their son talk to police. It also says that the boy’s father thought a 10-day school suspension, finishing school in a different district and being grounded for the summer was an adequate punishment.
The student was criminally charged with indecent exposure and simple assault.
24 Hour News 8 was told initially the district wouldn’t cooperate with the police in both investigations, citing privacy concerns.