Video shows school employees’ inappropriate talk

Bangor teachers, inappropriate comments
A still image taken from video showing people -- apparently Bangor school employees-- talking inappropriately about their co-workers and students. (***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this caption inaccurately attributed the statements to teachers when other school employees were included. This error has since been fixed.***)

BANGOR, Mich. (WOOD) — One Bangor Public Schools employee is out of a job and several teachers were reprimanded after they were recorded making inappropriate comments about their co-workers and students.

The six-minute video was posted to YouTube on Monday. At meeting Monday evening, the Bangor Board of Education president said it was recorded in mid-January and that it shows district employees.

In the video, members of the group gathered at Bangor Tavern — who did not know they were being recorded — used crude language as they played a game in which they stated whether they would like to have sex with, marry or kill various people. The board president said that some of the people mentioned in the first category are minors.

Board members told a packed house Monday that the video was investigated weeks ago. The board allowed a brief period of public comment before moving on to its agenda and refusing to take further questions. One man was escorted out for interrupting, seeking answers.

Bangor school board, video
A packed house at the Bangor Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Feb. 13, 2017, during which a video showing staff members speaking inappropriately was discussed.

The board then went into closed session to discuss the matter with the district’s attorney, Robert Huber. Dozens of community members waited outside to get answers. After the closed session, board members came back out and Huber tried to calm the upset crowd by answering their questions.

Huber said two teachers and a school secretary, Patti Waite, were involved in the inappropriate comments. The teachers received written reprimands and Waite resigned. Four other teachers who were present received verbal reprimands.

Several parents in attendance argued that all of the employees seen in the video should have been fired.

Before the meeting, the mother of a special needs student apparently mentioned in the video told 24 Hour News 8 she thinks the employees have “got to go.”

“I’m angry. I’m livid. Disgusted,” Amanda Reprogal said.

Huber fired back at the angry community members at the meeting, even arguing that students were never named in the video.

“You can’t point to anywhere on that video where the teachers were talking about students,” he said.

Parents didn’t buy that. The woman who posted the video to YouTube, Jennifer Prentice, told 24 Hour News 8 she said she got it from a friend, but she’s not sure where the friend came across it. Prentice said that after a few members of the small town saw the video, it became clear who the people in it are and who they were talking about.

Huber said the decision has been made and the teachers aren’t going to lose their jobs.

“We made our best assessment based on the facts and reasonable minds can differ about things,” he said.

He said police helped investigate and interviewed the teachers, but determined nothing criminal happened and that there was no concern the teachers may actually act on what they were talking about.

Huber also acknowledged that some parents have indicated they want to press charges against the school, but said he doesn’t expect those charges to go anywhere. At the meeting, some parents were also calling to recall the entire school board over the issue.

The school has not released the names of the teachers involved.