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Controversy Blooms Around Lansing Superintendent Search

Community members attending an information session on the superintendent search last week
Maxim Jenkins
Community members attending an information session on the superintendent search last week.

Last week, members of the Lansing community crowded into an info session to share their concerns about Mark Coscarella’s history. Coscarella was Lansing’s acting superintendent and lead candidate before allegations of sexual harassment from his past resurfaced. 

One nearly 20-year-old case, accuses Coscarella of dancing in front of a student-teacher in his underwear behind a locked door. The other alleges pornography was shown to the Holt baseball team when Coscarella was coach. He resigned from Holt schools after the incident, but denies both accusations.

Elinor Jordan, is an attorney and concerned mother of a student in the district. She said the school board should ditch Coscarella and slow down its search.

“I’m hearing the community expressing that there’s a significant need to pay attention to issues surrounding alleged sexual misconduct against the person who’s been identified as the probable frontrunner for this search," said Jordan.

Sheila Contreras is an associate professor at MSU. She spoke out asking the school board to slow down and consider external candidates. 

“I’m excited and inspired to see the community coming together. Coming together to make change, organizing, uniting to, um, help to create a better future for our kids," said Contreras. 

The Michigan Association of School Boards has been contracted to help Lansing with the search. They’re hoping to have a new superintendent by winter break.

Lansing’s former superintendent Yvonne Caamal-Canul stands behind Coscarella even describing one of his accusers as "troubled," a remark that she has since apologized for. But, he’s since been placed on paid leave by the district while the claims are investigated. 

Neither Coscarella or members of the Lansing Board of Education could be reached after multiple requests for comment.

The Board of Education will receive all of the public comments collected at their headquarters Thursday at 6:30 PM in an open meeting.

Maxim Jenkins gather government and political news content for online and on-air..
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