Grand Ledge Board Of Education Votes to Dismiss Superintendent Following Controversial Remarks
The Grand Ledge board of education has ended a day-long special meeting on the controversial remarks made by Superintendent Brian Metcalf about the George Floyd case by voting unanimously to dismiss him.
This post was last updated Friday June 5th at 7:27 p.m.
The board heard from more than 100 people during the meeting, nearly all calling for the dismissal of Metcalf for his online comments that were seen as victim-blaming. Speakers included teachers, parents, students, residents, and alumni from all over the country.
After a closed session, the board returned to a public meeting to entertain a motion made by board member Jon Shiflett.
“I move to authorize the board’s legal counsel, Thrun law firm, to draft charges seeking the immediate termination of the superintendent’s employment, pursuant to paragraph seven of the superintendent’s contract dated January 1, 2020,” Shiflett said.
The board will appoint an interim superintendent at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Metcalf will be immediately placed on paid administrative leave.
Greg Almy, president of the Grand Ledge Education Association, was the first to speak during public comment. He says in a vote of no-confidence, 85-percent of teachers said Metcalf should be terminated.
Almy said during Friday's board meeting that “Dr. Metcalf cannot efficiently lead our district if his decisions cause minority students, families and staff to doubt their value and safety in this district.”
Almy also said Metcalf has a history of minimizing sexual assaults of employees by administrators.
Metcalf came under sharp criticism for remarking on the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. In those remarks, he had decried Floyd's death, but also commented that Floyd had allegedly used counterfeit money, was under the influence, and was resisting arrest. He later apologized and said he planned to undergo sensitivity training, gestures that failed to slow the tide of criticism.
Earlier this week, dozens of people protested Metcalf's remarks in Grand Ledge while calling for his ouster.
One of the speakers at Friday's meeting was Delta Township Trustee Fonda Brewer. She reacted to Metcalf’s online assertion that Floyd had been resisting arrest. “Do you know how many times we’ve been told we’re resisting, and end up dead?" Brewer asked. "Code words, and he as the doctor, as the superintendent of Grand Ledge public schools, which has a diverse population, has no right to say those words.”
There was one voice of support for Metcalf. Chuck Pantera described the superintendent as a “great man," adding “his message to this community, as I took it, is don’t put yourself in a bad situation, and I think that’s a good message. I think that’s a really good thing, to not put yourself in a situation where you’re going to get in trouble.” Pantera added that he hopes supporting Metcalf doesn’t hurt his business.
At times, the Zoom meeting had more than 500 viewers, and the meeting was disrupted for a time by a sexually explicit Zoom-bombing.