Mike Eagan recall, West Branch-Rose City Area Schools, Michigan (2013)
An effort to recall Mike Eagan from his position on the West Branch-Rose City Area Schools Board of Education in Ogemaw County, Michigan was launched in July 2013. The recall did not go to a vote.
The recall effort against Eagan was led by John Janczewski. In 2006, Janczewski's then 14-year-old son was sexually molested by middle school science and computers teacher Neal Erickson. In 2013, obscene pictures of Janczewski's son were anonymously emailed to school officials. A subsequent criminal investigation ensued, which resulted in a guilty plea from Erickson on one charge of sexual misconduct. At his July sentencing, six current and two former teachers from the school district wrote Circuit Judge Michael Baumgartner requesting leniency in the sentencing while describing Erickson's 17 years of service in the district; Erickson was given 15 to 30 years in prison for his crime. Also at the sentencing trial was Eagan, who sat with Erickson's family. While Eagan himself did not write a letter, Eagan's wife was one of the teachers who did. The letters of support for Erickson and the actions of Eagan strongly upset Janczewski, his wife, and others in the community. Calls came forward for the teachers who signed letters to be fired and for Eagan to resign or be kicked off the board; some parents also threatened to remove their children from the district. The teachers, and Eagan, said they did not condone Erickson's actions, but rather were showing support for Erickson's family. In August, the school board voted against firing the teachers and in favor of requiring them to attend ethics training; the board also said it would seek accommodations for parents who did not want their children with the teachers.
Third and forth recall petitions
Two recall petitions against Eagan were filed in early September 2013. One was filed by John Janczewski, which read:
|“||Mike Eagan, a WB-RC district school board member, sat in court July 10, 2013 on the side of Neil (sic) Erickson, a convicted child molester of a student, with the teachers who wrote letters of leniency for Neil (sic) Erickson. These teachers included Mike Eagan’s wife, Amy Huber Eagan.||”|
The other, filed by Janczewski's wife Lori, read:
|“||We the people of Ogemaw County, wish to recall Mike Eagan, an elected school board official. He publicly supported the teachers who wrote letters requesting leniency for Neal Erickson, a teacher and convicted pedophile, who sexually assaulted a student.||”|
Second recall petition
First recall petition
Charges by Janczewski on the first recall petition, which was rejected by county election officials as being unclear and not factual, read:
Path to the ballot
- See also: Laws governing recall in Michigan
The first petition was rejected by all three officials on the elections board, . McIntyre stated, "I believe all five statements are not factual. They’re more of an opinion than factual. And there are too many spelling and punctuation errors for this to go on the ballot."
On August 16, 2013 Janczewski submitted his second recall petition against Eagan. At a clarity and factual hearing on August 27, County Clerk Gary Klacking, Probate Court Judge Shana Lambourn and County Treasurer Dwight McIntyre determined that the petitions were not clear and factual. Klacking stated, "The thing about that is that there is no reference to what those bylaws are." Lambourn also explained, "It doesn't matter whether it’s true or not. It's whether it can be a factual statement. Whether or not Mike Eagan is biased or prejudiced is an opinion. So you want to state exactly what he did."
A clarity-factual hearing was scheduled for the third round of petitions for September 24, 2013.
- The Ogemaw County Herald, "Recall language again filed against Eagan," August 20, 2013
- The Ogemaw County Herald, "Recall language filed against Eagan for third time," September 6, 2013
- The Detroit News, "Rose City middle school torn apart by teacher sex scandal," August 3, 2013
- The Ogemaw County Herald, "Recall language against school board member rejected," August 6, 2013
- The Ogemaw County Herald, "WB-RC chooses not to fire teachers who wrote leniency letters for Erickson," August 20, 2013
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- The Ogemaw County Herald, "Recall language against Eagan again deemed unclear, not factual," August 27, 2013
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