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Westwood Heights School Board says not enough evidence to fire Superintendent for alleged comments

School Board schedules Friday hearing to listen to attorneys from both sides before deciding employment status for Superintendent
Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 1:49 AM EDT
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MOUNT MORRIS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - (09/10/2021) - The Westwood Heights Superintendent will be back on the job after a unanimous vote by the school board that there isn’t enough evidence to fire him.

It’s a story we’ve been following closely since February.

Peter Toal has been on paid administrative leave for seven months, after he and his wife, who is a teacher in the district, were accused of making racially insensitive comments in person and online.

During Friday night’s hearing, the school board heard from attorneys on both sides and then went into a closed session for about an hour. After that, the Board President said they made the decision based on the evidence. He wouldn’t comment any further than that when ABC12 spoke with him after the meeting, but an attorney for twelve teachers who made the claims says this still isn’t over.

For the first time since being placed on nondisciplinary administrative leave in February of 2021, the Westwood Heights School District Superintendent, Peter Toal will be allowed to get back to his normal job.

This comes seven months after investigating his alleged racist, sexist, and homophobic comments that go against his contract and board policy.

“On behalf of Peter Toal, we’re very happy that the board took their time, listened to everything that anybody had to say that mattered in this situation, concluded that Mr. Toal did nothing wrong, and that’s why they’re agreeing to reinstate him to his position as Superintendent of Westwood Heights on September 20,” Toal’s Attorney, Dean Yeotis said.

The school board scheduled a hearing on Friday night, Ultimately deciding there wasn’t enough evidence presented to fire Toal.

Attorney, Trachelle Young represents about twelve teachers in the district, who made the accusations. Although she didn’t want them to testify in person on Friday, she says the teachers already provided complete statements to two investigators and directly to the board.

”We really put forward more than enough information where they should have what they needed to terminate the Superintendent’s employment, and they failed to do that tonight, and that’s very disappointing for my clients,” Young said.

Young says they will be meeting next week because this is definitely not over. The Board did say they will consider action at a later date, but Young says she’s not buying it.

”If they do something, why would they consider action at a later date? Now is the time that we’re addressing the subject the issue. Now you voted to bring him back. Take action now, so no, we’re not confident in the board doing the right thing at all any more on this matter, and so we won’t go back to the board on this. We have other avenues that we will consider pursuing,” Young said.

Even though the Board President didn’t want to speak to ABC12 about the decision, one longtime board member says she just wants to move forward for the sake of the students.

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