CADILLAC — A Cadillac News Freedom of Information Act request uncovered a few more details regarding the recent resignation of a Cadillac Area Public Schools teacher.
Last week an emailed comment from the district stated a special board of education meeting was canceled. It also stated CAPS Superintendent Jennifer Brown accepted the resignation of high school teacher Aaron Whipple.
The investigation related to the potential tenure charges started after district leadership was made aware of a "concerning email" on Jan. 1. As a result, Whipple was placed on administrative leave beginning Jan. 4, which was when students returned to class from the holiday break.
The Cadillac News submitted its FOIA request seeking Whipple's personnel record, including any complaints, his resignation letter and email correspondence. The Cadillac News received Whipple's personnel record and resignation letter, but it was subject to redaction. The request for complaints was denied due to the district not possessing "records under the description given" in the request or "by other names reasonably known to the district."
As for the request for email correspondence and, in particular, the email that led to Whipple's administrative leave, it was denied according to Section 13(2) of FOIA as doing so would prevent the district from complying with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
With the information that was given, a letter regarding insubordination confirmed the "concerning email" was between Whipple and a single student. It also indicated that the district attempted three times to interview Whipple so he could share his side.
By not appearing for the interview, the Jan. 27 letter stated the district found Whipple to be "insubordinate." It also stated the district would proceed with a recommendation for his discharge.
Whipple's administrative leave was pending the district's investigation. Brown said in a previous press release Whipple was directed to not have any contact with students or staff while on leave. CAPS Board of Education President Dr. Elizabeth Rzepka-Alto also was made aware of the situation, according to Brown.
Law enforcement also was made aware and is currently investigating the situation. That investigation continues.
At this time, it is unknown if Whipple will face criminal charges, but Whipple will have this on his permanent record as stated in Revised School Code, Act 451 of 1976, and in particular Sec. 380.1230(b).
Section 380.1230 (b) states a school or district that formerly employed a teacher is required upon request by a prospective employer to furnish information about "unprofessional conduct" in which that teacher might have engaged during his or her employment. The term "unprofessional conduct" is defined in the statute as "acts of misconduct. . . . immorality, moral turpitude, or inappropriate behavior involving a minor, or commission of a crime involving a minor." …