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Substitute teacher accused of inappropriate interactions with children of SE Michigan school

By Luke Laster

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    HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP, Michigan (WWJ) — A substitute teacher with Huron Valley Schools district is accused of inappropriate interactions with students at Spring Mills Elementary School in Highland Township.

“It makes me sick to my stomach because we trust these people with our kids when we’re not around,” says Tori Spano, a parent of Huron Valley Schools.

Spano and her husband Joshua spoke with CBS News Detroit on behalf of what she says are other families whose children have fallen victim to alleged inappropriate interactions from the substitute.

“Even very friendly, it’s always supposed to be hands-off. I mean, it’s somebody else’s child, and then you think of other teachers that are there seeing it occur, you know. Not saying anything, because they think it’s just friendly, and you hear from your own children and other people’s children about what did occur,” said Joshua Spano.

Tori Spano was one of several parents who addressed the board in Monday night’s board of education meeting, demanding answers to the allegations.

A spokesperson for the school district issued the following statement.

“The highest level of background checks are done on all staff members, both employees and contracted workers, as was in this case.

“The district was made aware of the one allegation at the end of April. At that time, the substitute was removed from his placement, and Oakland County Sheriffs began investigating.

“The Huron Valley School district takes any allegations we receive seriously and we diligently follow all school policies and procedures. The safety and welfare of our students and staff remains our top priority. We can not comment on any specifics at this time as we allow law enforcement to properly investigate.”

CBS News Detroit also reached out to Edustaff, the Grand Rapids-based substitute staffing organization that said:

“Edustaff is aware of the police investigation regarding our employee who worked within Huron Valley Schools. This employee is currently on leave and has not worked since we were notified of the investigation in April. Edustaff, like our partnering school districts, is committed to student safety, and we ensure that all of our contracted employees are subject to the same rigorous background checks as regular public school employees.

“The employee was only working in Huron Valley.”

“You know, we shelter our children, and we try to protect them from things like this, and now that door is kicked open, and we have no choice,” Joshua Spano said.

We also reached out to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, which said there is an investigation.

“Any allegation of inappropriate conduct with a child is vigorously investigated by us and will be turned over to the prosecutor for determination of charges,” said Sheriff Mike Bouchard.

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