Plainwell board suspended superintendent Wakefield for disobeying 2011 directive

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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