Plainwell board suspended superintendent Wakefield for disobeying 2011 directive

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By Ryan Lewis, Staff Writer

Plainwell school board members recently revealed they suspended superintendent Sue Wakefield one day without pay for mishandling the administrative response to a student safety issue.

Board members have not released details of the incident in question, as it is a confidential personnel matter.

Monday, May 19, board members voted 6-0 (trustee Kevin Blue was absent) to approve the language of an explanatory memorandum to Wakefield. The vote followed a closed session invoking the Michigan Open Meetings Act’s exceptions to discuss negotiations and attorney-client privileged information.

Board president Amy Blades read from it, stating Wakefield’s conduct constituted a “dereliction of duty.”

The memo states Wakefield inadequately informed the school board about the incident; used a defensive tone in communications with parents about the incident; and did not contact the police to have them involved at a student’s April 14 expulsion hearing related to the incident.

That latter detail was, according to the memo, based on a board directive from a similar incident in 2011.

(This story has been edited to clarify details regarding the nature of the board's closed session.)

For the full story, pick up a copy of the May 26 issue of The Union Enterprise.

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