Grand Ledge has Three Different Lawsuits in 2022

Andrew Powers, News editor

  The Grand Ledge Public School Board has come under fire recently as they are the defendants of three concurring lawsuits.

  Some may know of the oldest lawsuit from former superintendent Brian Metcalf related to his termination in September of 2020. Metcalf sued the board after being “denied access to the records necessary to defend himself against charges seeking his dismissal and the ruination of his career,” two weeks before he was officially fired. 

  Metcalf was fired for making claims on social media in May of 2020 that George Floyd was at least in part responsible for his death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer. Metcalf’s lawsuit pertains to 16 requests he made to produce records of texts and emails between board members regarding Metcalf and his termination as it was being decided.

  While the Eaton County Circuit Court judge ruled that there was not enough proof that the school board violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a Court of Appeals judge disagreed, claiming that the Grand Ledge School Board must produce all 16 records Metcalf requested.

  Metcalf’s attorney, Eric Delaporte, claimed that they have received the requested records and more prior to the upcoming arbitration hearing in mid to late May which will determine whether there was just cause in Metcalf’s termination.

  Eric Delaporte is also representing a parent of former Grand Ledge High School students, who is suing the school board as well. This mother is suing the school board as a whole and six of the members individually for allegedly violating FOIA by giving her a redacted version of approved and denied mask exemption requests that left only the title columns readable. The school board denied a later request to view a less censored version of the document, claiming that it would have violated FERPA, which is an act saying that schools cannot release personally identifiable information of students.

  Earlier in March in response to the lawsuit, the school board did provide the woman with an unredacted version of the document that included the information she initially wanted.

  Lastly, the father of Malachi Williams, who was tragically and unfortunately fatally struck by a school bus on his way home from school last year, is suing the school district and the bus driver for his son’s death and the pain it caused his family. The Williams’ attorney claims they reached out to the school district in June of 2021 to attempt to resolve the matter but were required to file a lawsuit to bring resolution and closure to the family.

  “My family wakes up every day with the pain that my son Malachi was taken from us. It is clear from the GLPS Board’s silence that they are unwilling to take responsibility for our son’s death. We filed this lawsuit to ensure that the school is held accountable and to force the school to make changes to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” Malachi’s father, Eric Williams, stated in a press release