Bangor, Michigan is a small town of about 2,000 people in the southwest corner of lower Michigan. Founded over 120 years ago, the town was known as Train City due its Amtrak station and location but now is officially known as the Apple Center of Michigan. It’s located about 10 miles east of the Lake Michigan shore, about 27 miles due west of downtown Kalamazoo and 40 miles north of the Michigan-Indiana border.
The small Apple Center town has 3 schools – one elementary school, one middle school and one high school. Like most small communities, everyone pretty much knows everybody else and quickly knows who anyone else is talking about, even if not named, and it’s that familiarity that caused a great deal of controversy between parents and the local school board.
In January, several school employees and teachers were enjoying themselves at a local bar and grill. Evidently, they weren’t being all that quiet since someone sitting several tables away videoed them as they played a game known as MFK for ‘marry’, ‘fu**’, ‘kill’. The teachers and school employees were loudly talking about some of the students and who they would marry, who they would kill and who they would have sex with. Some of the students were discussed in detail with some of them being students with special needs.
The video eventually made its way to You Tube and parents were outraged with what they saw and heard. Jennifer Prentice said that she received the video from a friend and after watching and listening to it, she felt compelled to post it on You Tube. She commented, saying:
“It’s disturbing to know that these are our educators. They are in charge of protecting our children, keeping our children safe, and the fact that they just blew that out of the water shows their character and shows that maybe they’re not right for this job.”
Many of the parents contacted the school board and demanded that the teachers and employees involved in the obscene game be terminated instantly. Amanda Reprogal said one of the students referred to by the teachers in the obscene game was her special needs son. She told the local media:
“I’m angry. I’m livid. Disgusted.”
“It was heartbreaking. My heart sank, and I was disgusted.”
Ronnie Booker, the father of the special needs son of Reprogal also commented, saying:
“You teach your kids to respect authority, and then how do you respect authority figures when they behave like that?”
In the wake of an investigation launched by the school board, they somewhat defended the actions of their employees by saying that none of the students were actually named. However, everyone else in the small town that has seen the video say they all know who the teachers and employees were talking about.
Patti Waite, Secretary to the Superintendent, resigned after the school board’s closed door meeting. Two teachers were given written reprimands and four other teaches were issued oral reprimands. As a result of the lax attitude taken by the school board, a number of parents have already begun an effort to recall the entire school board.
We hear so many instances of school kids being suspended for such minor and trivial things as playing cops and robbers, pretend shooting or even eating a toaster pastry into the alleged shape of a gun. Yet, when teachers publicly mock students and loudly discuss the vulgar things they would do to students, they are not fired nor are they suspended. Instead they are given a warning, something they don’t always give their students.
This is another reason to keep your kids out of public schools, if at all possible. In many schools, there is a double standard for teachers, faculty and staff than there is for the students.