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"We believe the case is resolved." No charges in alleged assaults at Mount Pleasant Middle School

Rick Brewer

The Isabella County Prosecutor's office will not file any charges following an investigation of a staff member who allegedly assaulted students of color at Mount Pleasant Middle School.

Last week, a complaint was filed with the Prosecutor's office that students in Mount Pleasant Middle School were allegedly assaulted and slapped in the face by a staff member for leaving a gymnasium without permission.

David Barberi is the Isabella County prosecutor. He said county officials immediately started an investigation due to the seriousness of the allegations and reviewed surveillance footage.

“And in that video, there was no evidence of an assault by the school employee," said Barberi. "In addition to the video, we also reviewed statements by disinterested witnesses. And they were not able to corroborate any of the version of events of the young students as well.”

And I think that it would be a great opportunity for everybody to get together and heal from this process to be able to talk about there feelings and what occurred and the potential collateral consequences of this incident.
David Barberi, Isabella County prosecutor.

Barberi said no charges will be filed against the students because he doesn’t think it’s necessary to make an example of children and they should look to adults in their lives as examples.

"I think it's important to remember that these are just kids. In fact, I think that if anybody should be made an example of it's the adults," said Barberi.

The National Parent’s Union, who previously called for the school superintendent to be fired, did not respond to our request for comment.

Statement from Mount Pleasant Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Verleger:

Dear Mt. Pleasant Public School families,

I’m following up on the letter I sent last week about an allegation regarding our middle school.

Last week, we received a report that a group of students had allegedly been pushed or struck by a behavior interventionist at Mt. Pleasant Middle School. Our review, along with an investigation by the Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney, have both determined that no assault took place.

We can confirm that the staff member did not assault the students based on a review of school security video of the staff member interacting with the students, along with police interviews with witnesses.

The staff member, who had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation, has been cleared to return to work. The prosecutor has closed his case pertaining to the staff member, and he is reviewing the file for potential charges tied to false claims made to police. Once the prosecutor completes his review, we’ll also be looking at this matter consistent with our district procedures and policies.

At Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, we take all reports of inappropriate conduct seriously and we thoroughly investigate all allegations in accordance with district policy and procedures.

We strive to create a culture of civility, respect and tolerance as we provide all our students a world-class education. Our middle school students are required to participate in a rigorous social-emotional curriculum, and we utilize a restorative practices approach to promote respect, encourage healing and growth, help repair relationships, and create an environment where everyone feels safe and respected.

We are proud of our amazing staff that works tirelessly to support all our students and make our schools a safe and welcoming place to learn.

Jennifer Verleger

Rick Brewer is a general assignment reporter covering central and northern Michigan for WCMU Public Radio.
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