Saginaw school officials waited days to report pornographic images shown in class

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SAGINAW (WJRT) (10/24/2017) - Saginaw school officials are facing criticism after waiting days to report a substitute teacher displaying pornographic images in class to the proper authorities.

School officials believe the incident at Loomis Academy last Wednesday was accidental on the substitute teacher's part. He was immediately removed from the building and banned from working in any Saginaw schools again.

But the Saginaw Police Department was not notified of the incident until Friday, which upset the school board president and other stakeholders in the district.

The sub was working in a sixth grade classroom using his own laptop computer to display images on an electronic whiteboard when the pornographic images popped up. Police say there were images, including one where a man and woman were having sex.

At least two children ran out of the classroom at around 1 p.m. Wednesday to tell administrators, who conducted an internal investigation. But police were not called about the incident until Friday evening.

"We probably should have made a phone call a lot earlier," Saginaw school board president Rudy Patterson said.

He started getting calls from parents about the incident and called the school's administration to find out how they responded. It quickly became clear administrators hadn't alerted anyone outside the district.

Patterson himself called Child Protective Services, who told him that he was required personally to report the incident as an official of the district. He alerted authorities and the principal at Loomis eventually called Saginaw police.

Saginaw Superintendent Nathaniel McClain will not comment since its an ongoing investigation, according to a spokesman. PCMI, the staffing company that employs substitute teachers for school districts, also declined to comment.

A spokesman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says school teachers and administrators are mandated reporters. That means they must immediately call a state hotline if they suspect abuse or neglect and write a written report within 72 hours.

Health and Human Services officials recommend that if mandated reporters are not sure if an incident is abuse or neglect to call them and its staff will make the determination. State staffers would then call police.

"Our slogan is keeping kids first and parents are guaranteed -- they have that guarantee -- to keep kids first and we have to do that in every instance," Patterson said.



 
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