DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Former Grand Ledge schools Superintendent Brian Metcalf was fired over Facebook comments that blamed George Floyd for his own death at the hands of Minneapolis police, at least in part.
Now Brian Metcalf has filed for arbitration, saying the school district owes him close to $1 million.
"It all starts with being a law-abiding citizen, had he not paid with counterfeit money, had he not resisted, had he not been under the influence," Metcalf wrote in a Facebook comment in May. "Then there would be no contact with officers; that does not excuse the officer; it just eliminates the conflict, to begin with!! It starts with being a good citizen."
After public backlash, Metcalf was placed on leave in June and fired in September.
"Instead of doing the right thing and supporting Dr. Metcalf, who had worked tirelessly on behalf of the minority community of the Grand Ledge Public Schools for nine years, the Board of Education caved to the cancel culture mob," Metcalf's attorney, Eric Delaporte, said in a statement. "In doing so, the Board of Education violated Dr. Metcalf's constitutional right to free speech and due process, violated state law, breached his employment contract, and even contravened the board's own policies."
The school district's attorney Tim Mullins says Metcalf's contract was not violated. The contract states that the board can terminate the administrator's employment at any time if it determines he engaged in misconduct, dishonesty or incompetence.
"That's certainly the dispute that exists between the school district and Mr. Metcalf as the attorneys would set forth. That whether or not he had done enough that was wrong to result in his termination is the essential question that will have to be decided in the arbitration," said Mullins.
Metcalf filed for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association on Dec. 3 and is seeking compensation for what Delaporte calls the Board of Education's unlawful actions.
Mullins says the arbitrator will have two decisions to make. Did the school board make the right decision, or was it within the parameters of its job of governing the school district?
"The school board has the ultimate power to hire and to terminate employees with the school district. And so, did they terminate his contract in accordance with its terms and or the applicable law. And then secondly, if by chance, which I personally think is doubtful that it's determined that they breached his contract by terminating him, then the arbitrator would make a determination as to what if any damages he was owed," Mullins said.
Metcalf earned about $308,000 in salary and benefits during this last year of employment.
"The contract itself that he has puts a cap on his damages of three and a half years of his salary. So that's the worst that can happen," said Mullins.
Mullins says the arbitration process can take about 6 to 9 months from start to finish.
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