Parents question Kentwood School Board about Quinn James
KENTWOOD, Mich. —
Parents express concern at a Kentwood School Board meeting on Monday after learning Mujey Dumbaya, 16, was set to testify in a rape trial against her accuser who worked for the district before she was killed.
Newschannel 3's Nicky Zizaza was at the meeting and spoke to parents and the attorney representing the Dumbaya family.
Parents who showed up to the Kentwood School Board meeting had a lot of questions surrounding how and why a convicted felon was hired by the district. The attorney representing Dumbaya's family says they deserve answers.
School officials publicly addressed the tragedy two weeks after the body of Dumbaya was found in a wooded area in the West Douglas neighborhood of Kalamazoo.
Mimi Madden, Kentwood School Board President, said during the meeting, “Over the past week we as a Kentwood community have been rocked with sadness and grief regarding the loss of our beloved student Mujey Dumbaya."
Parents were impassioned and concerned.
Mary Bruce said, “As a parent that is unacceptable to have someone with a criminal record in the school system that has contact with our children."
Parents questioning district officials about how former employee Quinn James, 42, who multiple sources say is a person of interest in Mujey's death, was hired as a groundskeeper with a known criminal record that included armed robbery and weapons violations.
The district says James' job didn't require any contact with students and the Michigan Department of Education says it was within its rights to hire him, because of the nature of his past offenses.
Bruce said, “I would like to know what employees are in the Kentwood district that have criminal records that have contact with students."
Keith Edwards said, “You really have to scrutinize it. I'm all for second chances, but you have to make a decision, what second chances are you going to allow? But sex offenses and things against children, you can't have that on campus when there are over a thousand kids."
Mujey was set to testify in a rape trial after accusing James of repeatedly raping her. He was let go in November 2017 after another rape allegation surfaced.
Christine Yared who is representing Dumbaya's family says that wasn’t enough.
Yared said, “As to the school district I would say a criminal record does matter and certainly there are people who have felony records and they are entitled to employment and they should be employed, but in particular to certain jobs where they shouldn't be if the criminal record involve a gun felony"
James has not been charged in connection to Dumbuya's murder, but he is being held at the Kent County Jail on an unrelated count of criminal sexual conduct.