Controversial Van Buren superintendent fired

BELLEVILLE, Mich. – The Van Buren Board of Education passed the motion to terminate the contract of Superintendent Michael Van Tassel on Monday night.

Several hundred people filled the cafeteria at Belleville High School with strong feelings about the motion.

Parents expressed their distrust in Van Tassel at the meeting and among Van Tassal’s critics were former teachers who spoke about a climate of intimidation from the top.

“The final nail in my coffin as they say, was when my administrator for whom I have great respect for and who also left the district, told me I needed to get out before I was forced out,” a former teacher said during the meeting. “He told me that I had a target on my back.”

The problems erupted last spring with an investigation of fraud at Savage Road Elementary School. Five teachers were removed for allegedly feeding students the answers to state tests in order to falsely raise their scores. The test scores were thrown out by the state.

In January, a freshman student brought a handgun to Belleville High School. The student told administrators he feared for his safety. The school’s principal made a decision along with Van Tassel not to send out an alert to parents about the incident.

The board passed the motion to terminate Van Tassel’s contract and immediately named an interim superintendent.

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