School board members face continued outrage in Bangor

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BANGOR, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – School administrators in Bangor faced a mountain of outrage at the Bangor School Board meeting Monday night as many demanded that the school board members and other administrators resign.

This outrage comes after a number of issues within the district, including the board’s handling of two videos that went viral; one showing staff talking inappropriately about special needs students and another a teacher duct-taping a student to his chair.

A number of Bangor residents feel that district officials have been evasive in the aftermath of the controversies. Some school board members backed out of community forum scheduled at the beginning of the month.

Monday’s meeting gave both sides a chance to air their grievances.

Bangor Schools Board of Education member and Trustee Derek Babcock said told the crowd," I'm deeply sorry to the community, teachers, staff and the community that's suffered." "I am hopeful that all those that are standing up now can commit to healing and improvements going forward," Babcock said.

In a surprising move, Bangor School’s former superintendent, now Chief Operating Officer, Dennis Paquette released a full timeline of the events involving his district staff and faculty. The timeline was released to media outlets and posted on the school district website moments before the start of Monday's meeting. Paquette told Newschannel 3

“We’re disheartened by the actions of the few that made such a negative impact on the community,” Paquette told the crowd.

Recently, the Van Buren County Prosecutor decided not to press charges against those involved in both videos. A total of three teachers and the secretary of the superintendent resigned in connection to the videos. "The school has taken care of it, the county is done, this incident is done," Bangor High School Chelsea Byrd told the crowd.

Many students spoke up to support Paquette and the administration, but the outrage has been kindling in Bangor and even the mayor is now demanding greater accountability.

“I’m here tonight telling you as a parent, a taxpayer and as a mayor, what’s going on here is unacceptable,” said Bangor Mayor Nick Householder.

Paquette was re-assigned in January after Newschannel 3’s I-Team discovered he did not have the required certifications to be superintendent.

On Monday night, Paquette told the crowd he was on his way to earning those credentials in late 2017.

An online petition launched two weeks ago, with 149 signatures to date, calling for the resignation of Bangor school board members and Paquette.

“I think he should be resigned or let go, in my opinion,” said a Bangor resident at Monday’s meeting.

. Newschannel 3 asked him about the petition.

“No plans to step down, or do anything differently in terms of your position here?” asked Newschannel 3’s Mike Krafcik.

“Take it one day at a time,” said Paquette.

“So that’s a no?” asked Krafcik.

“Take it one day at a time,” said Paquette. “That’s the way I’m going to handle things.”

The school board announced its working on plans for new training for staff focusing on harassment, discrimination and gender equality. Babcock also announced plans for a "Better Action Committee" made up of school board members, teachers, students and community members.

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