Detroit gym teacher suspended for staying in hotel overnight with students, district says

Gym teacher placed on administrative leave with pay

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ®, Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT - A Detroit gym teacher has been suspended after he allegedly stayed in a hotel overnight with some of his students, district officials said.

The gym teacher at John J. Bagley Elementary School has been placed on administrative leave with pay with Detroit Public School Community District officials investigate the accusations.

At the same time, the mother of a child in question told Local 4 there was no wrongdoing. She said this is just a misunderstanding.

Thursday was report card day at John J. Bagley, but at the same time, parents were trying to process the DPSCD robocall they received.

The robocall said, "The district was made aware of allegations of misconduct involving an employee at Bagely Monday afternoon. The PE teacher, Mr. Powell, was immediately placed on administrative leave, and the matter is currently under investigation. Preliminary findings indicate that parents allowed their students to spend the night with the teacher at a hotel."

The robocall prompted a parent meeting inside the school. The mother of the two boys at the heart of the case spoke to Local 4 about the situation.

"I wish this never happened like this, you know?" she said.

She didn't want to use her real name or show her face on camera, but she told Local 4 her mother made the complaint after the children told her they'd gone to Zap Zone in Farmington and then to an Ann Arbor hotel with a pool.

"Just for the kids to play around," she said. "We all agreed, and my husband went. I went with the kids."

She said the teacher is a family friend with whom they've done this several times.

"Was he in the room with any of the children?" the woman was asked.

"Not all by himself," she said. "(He did) nothing wrong. It was just a big misunderstanding."

School officials are asking families of children who have experienced any uncomfortable situations with employees to call employee relations at 313-873-7342 or the principal at 313-494-7175.

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