Updated: What Happened at Pattengill Middle School?

Updated: What Happened at Pattengill Middle School?

By FOX 47 News. CREATED Jan 4, 2012 - UPDATED: Jan 4, 2012
What exactly happened at Pattengill Middle School that landed dozens of kids in trouble last month?
We should know the answer to that question today. The Lansing School District was holding a parent meeting at 8:00a.m.
Parents we spoke to after the December 15th incident said their students were told they were suspended after several incidents involving a substitute teacher.
Tune in to FOX 47 News today for an update.

Updated 1/4, 4:03


LANSING -- Parents of more than 130 students showed up Pattengill Middle School at the crack of dawn Wednesday.

And many left just as frustrated as before.

"Now I have three other kids that's gotta go to school across the street and be tardy over this stupid meeting," said Jeff Clark, whose daughter is a student at Pattengill.

All this stems from a Dec. 15 incident in which an art class, taught by a substitute teacher, became unruly. Early reports included an assault and damaged property, but Principal Kirk Sulzman has since quashed those rumors.

At the time, hundreds of students came home with what seemed like suspension letters for "disorderly conduct."

The letter told parents to attend a mandatory meeting Jan. 4.

"When I picked [my son] up, he came to me, he was pretty much in tears saying that he had been suspended, and that the whole art class has been suspended," Ken McQuarrie said.

Our cameras weren't allowed inside that meeting Wednesday, but officials told parents most of their kids were not suspended, after all, and that any absences would be excused.

Parents say the breakdown in communication is unforgivable.

"A bunch of parents came up in this meeting thinking that their kid had done a bunch of bad things, which most of the kids that are in this class did nothing," Clark said.

And many here say their biggest concern is getting that art class under control. It's been taught by a series of substitutes, they say, for at least a month, and the kids who started the trouble Dec. 15 weren't even supposed to be in the class.

"They give students IDs out at the beginning of the year," said Daniel, a parent who didn't want to share his last name. "You should have your substitute check the student ID with the attendance."

At least one woman told us she has pulled her daughter from Pattengill.

Others, including Danita Cole, say they'll volunteer-teach in that art class, hoping to keep their kids and the school safe from another incident.