The headline from the story by WXYZ in Detroit sums it up nicely: “Teacher By Day, Inmate By Night.” For 30 days anyway, when Mr. Donald Colpaert is not teaching social studies to middle schoolers in Macomb County, he’s in jail. Here’s an exchange between WXYZ reporter Heather Catallo and Mr. Colpaert:
“I’m wondering why you’re still teaching if you’re in jail? I’m not in jail. I’m bringing lunch for my friends. No, you’re going back to your work release position. How can you be a role model for your students? Are you familiar with what’s going on at all with the case? Why don’t you tell us? I don’t really feel like explaining it. The court’s done a pretty good job of that.”
According to court records, the secretary says Colpaert started harassing her husband with phone calls and text messages after she decided to patch up her marriage.
During a hearing to obtain personal protection orders against Colpaert – the secretary and her husband submitted several of Colpaert’s email messages to Macomb County Judge Ed Servitto.
In one from October – Colpaert writes to another school co-worker about what he was allegedly planning to do at a party that the secretary was going to attend with her husband. One message states: “me and some of my friends will be waiting outside.” and “the s**t is definitely gonna hit the fan.” In another message Colpaert allegedly told the party hostess “I cant [sic] and WILL NOT promise that nothing will go down at your house.”
As for the text messages that Colpaert allegedly sent to the secretary’s husband – they’re so obscene we can not describe them on television.
Damn it! The Juice is not fond of censorship. Anyway, here’s how Mr. Colpaert ended up in jail:
When the judge granted the PPOs for the school secretary and her husband, according to the hearing transcript, he had some strong words for the teacher. Judge Servitto said “I can’t believe you’re an educator.” He also told Colpaert: “I don’t know that you should be a teacher. I don’t know. It just amazes me”
What’s truly amazing is that Donald Colpaert violated the PPO within minutes of leaving Servitto’s courtroom.
According to police reports, in the court hallway– Colpaert told the secretary’s husband, “we could have settled this man to man, it’s on now, it’s on.”
After those comments – a judge sent Colpaert to jail for 30 days for violating the PPO.
So it’s definitely “on,” with the “it” being the pokey, not an asskicking. How does tenure fit into the equation?
The Van Dyke Public School District did suspend Donald Colpaert for 3 days without pay for violating a directive they had given him to stop contacting the secretary. An attorney for the district tells Action News at this point, that’s the highest level of punishment that can be leveled against a tenured teacher.
Time to take a long, hard look at those tenure provisions.