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Board waiting on superintendent search evaluation

Posted at 6:36 PM, Nov 13, 2019

LANSING, Mich. — The Lansing School District is now waiting to get an evaluation of its search for a new superintendent.

The Michigan Association of School Boards held its second, and final forum, to talk about the process Tuesday night. For the second time, parents showed up angry about the district's leading candidate--Acting Superintendent Mark Coscarella.

Some who came to the forum Tuesday night left notes, others spoke in person to say the accusations of sexual harassment and providing pornography to minors should be disqualifying.

"It's terrifying as a parent quite frankly that there would be a culture of 'well lets just make that we cover ourselves with regard to Title IX and reporting' and not actually trying to change the culture so that our kids are safe," Elinor Jordan, a parent who was at Tuesday night's meeting, said.

People who came to the meeting say they're worried about where the search is headed.

"I think the whole situation is scary because we as parents put so much trust in the administration because if something happens that is unsafe for our kids, that's who is going to have to deal with it," Jordan said. "If people don't believe them...that can be incredibly damaging, and so it's terrifying as a parent quite frankly."

Parents and community members hope the board listens and takes everything into consideration: post-it notes, police reports, and all.

"I'm worried about a culture that condemns survivors who come forward and makes comments that they won't be believed because children are listening," parent Tashmica Torok said. "The best-case scenario is that they slow down, open up the search as wide as possible and prioritize the children in the district and their safety and not hire Dr. Coscarella."

Torock is also the Executive Director of the Firecracker Foundation.

The Michigan Association of School Boards will give its report on the search process to the school board at its meeting on Thursday, Nov. 21.

The board has hired an independent investigator to look into the allegations against Coscarella.

The district has also scheduled open interviews for Dec. 11 and 12.

Coscarella is accused of sexual harassment and supplying pornography to minors.

No criminal charges have been filed against him.

A petition has been started by local organizations to oppose Coscarella becoming the next superintendent.

Open interviews with other candidates are tentatively scheduled for Dec. 11th and 12th. They are open to the public.

You can also take survey to weigh in on Lansing School's superintendent search.

The school board hopes to makes a decision before winter break.

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