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.