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Hopkins teacher on leave for ‘inappropriate’ conduct

Robert Wiersma

Hopkins High School teacher Robert Wiersma, who also served as president of the Wayland Board of Education, was placed on leave today in connection with “inappropriate” comments he made to students after the deadly school shooting at Oxford.

Hopkins Public Schools Superintendent Gary Wood said  school officials were alerted to rumors Wednesday that Wiersma, a high school social studies teacher, told several different classes how he would shoot up a school.

Students said they felt his conversations were inappropriate and insensitive, especially in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting by a 15-year-old teen that left four students dead.

Wood said some students requested time to meet with the high school principal at the end of the school day Wednesday.

School administrators began an investigation into the matter Thursday. Wiersma then was placed on leave Friday morning and police were notified.

Michigan State Police are investigating the complaints as a result and Wiersma will remain on leave until the probe is concluded.

Wayland Middle School was closed Friday because of threats and to give time to Wayland City Police to investigate. Wayland administrators decided to err on the side of caution among fears of copycat shootings. Wayland is just one of many districts that were shut down because of real or imagined threats.

Wiersma served on the Wayland School Board until 2010, when he was not re-elected. He has been a teacher at Hopkins since 1997. He served in the U.S. Army for four years.

10 Comments

    • Robert, Can we assume you must know much more than the rest of us to use the term moron. Please share with the rest of the “class” what you know regarding his comments. Or are you simply using emotions rather than logic.

      • So are we to assume that these kids don’t understand the meaning of ok2say or doesn’t that apply to teachers? wayland police chief had these comments.”Please advise your students and your children to not make ill thought of statements in jest. This is not funny and it is not a laughing matter.”

        The chief said that under the Michigan Penal Code, making terrorist threats or false reports of terrorism is a felony punishable by 20 years in prison or a fine of $20,000 or both.

        “We urge you to not let what you believe to be a five-second joke change the course of history for your life. Obviously if anyone hears anything they should report it to their teacher, school official or law enforcement. If false statements or poorly made jokes are made to get attention, trust that those making them will get our attention.

  • @Robert Kirkwood You’re the moron for commenting on a situation and making a judgement when you don’t have enough information on what was being said. Maybe try using your brain?

  • It would behoove all of us to gather more information before passing judgment. Specifically, it would be good to know the exact words used by this educator in talking about “shooting up” the school. Removing him from the classroom is wise until a full investigation can be completed, but once we know all the details we ought to reign in our rhetoric.
    Just my opinion, but I think it is a good one.

  • Though what Mr. Wiersma said was out of hand and inappropriate at school, this was blown out of proportion. If you have had Mr. Wiersma, you would have known he’s not this kind of person and that he would never do anything like this at school. It’s totally over blown. This should not have been this widespread and twisted.

  • I know the situation and Rob and he basically told the students that if he were the shooter this is how he would do it and that the shooter did it all wrong. That is entirely inappropriate and he should be on leave and let go. School shootings are no joking matter and you should not be Monday morning quarterbacking them.

  • After reading the schools written statement, I think he will end up doing rather well. My guess is many lawyers are already salivating. Perhaps the courts shall decide who is right.

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