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Posted: 10/30/13

RCS agrees to charge
RHS band instructor

Nature of charges
withheld due to state law

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo Community Schools will move into a closed hearing when dealing with charges levied against a band teacher.
       The Board of Education voted 6-0 to charging Romeo High School band instructor Eric Gonzalez under the Michigan Teacher Tenure Act. The resolution also continues Gonzalez's paid suspension, which he has been on since Sept. 19.
       Vice-president Sara Murray was not present at the Oct. 21 meeting.
       Michigan's Teacher Tenure Act regulates discharges or demotions, resignations and leaves of absence and prescribes penalties for violations a teacher may commit.
       The charges, dated Oct. 21, seek to dismiss Gonzalez from his position. In a statement, the RCS administrative office said that Gonzalez requested a closed session for board action, and has indicated he will request a private hearing under the Teacher Tenure Act.
       The act prevents the district from legally releasing the charges brought against Gonzalez until the Teacher Tenure Commission renders a ruling on the merits.
       Board President Anita Banach said the issue is moving to another step in the process with the vote. She said the board takes all matters seriously and has spent a lot of time on the issue, but has to follow protocol.
       "While it may seem that there just isn't a lot of public information, that is for a reason," she said. "There are due processes and things that we must follow."
       The tenure act states charges shall be made in writing and specify an outcome, such as dismissal or demotion. The board must furnish the teacher with its decision no later than five days after deciding to proceed.
       The original resolution was unanimously voted down due to board members wishing to enter closed session to discuss the resolution. Once the board moved out of closed session it voted unanimously to move forward with the charges.
       Gonzalez has been with Romeo schools since 1998, working at Powell Middle School until 2010 when he become the Romeo High School band instructor.
       Following his leave, retired band director John Boren has filled in for Gonzalez's position on a temporary basis.


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