Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 10, 2014

Lawyer: Parents blindsided by deal with teacher

DETROIT (AP) — The parents of a Michigan elementary school student who was videotaped while stuck in a classroom chair "have no recourse" but to sue now that the school district has decided not to follow through on its plan to fire the boy's teacher, their lawyer said Friday.

Patrick Greenfelder said his clients were blindsided at a meeting Wednesday they believed was called to discuss a hearing over Goodrich Area Schools' effort to fire Nicole McVey.

Instead, the parents were told the Flint-area district planned to withdraw tenure charges against McVey and suspend her for a year, according to Greenfelder, who said they then were handed a letter of apology from McVey.

In it, McVey, who has not spoken publicly since she was placed on leave following the incident that took place the week before Thanksgiving, writes that she has "learned the severity" of her mistake.

"I have thought about November 22 every single day for the last 5 months and wish I could change every part of it," wrote McVey, who has spent 14 years in the district about 40 miles northwest of Detroit.

The video shows the boy, who has Asperger's syndrome, with his chest resting on the chair's seat and his head and arms stuck through an opening in the back. The voices of a woman and a man can be heard on the recording. Those belong to McVey and Oaktree Elementary School's then-Principal Michael Ellis, said Greenfelder, who accused them of taunting his clients' son.

The Associated Press is not identifying the parents or the boy due to his age.

The footage caused an uproar when it was released to a television station in February.

But close to 200 pages of district email correspondence obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request indicate the three months between the video's creation and its public airing were tumultuous as well.

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