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LSD board facing questions on superintendent search

Posted: 7:50 PM, Nov 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-07 21:33:15-05
COSCARELLA.jpg

LANSING, Mich. — Fox 47 will be asking the Lansing School Board tough questions Thursday night about the backlash over the leading candidate to become the district's next superintendent.

We broke the story of the allegation against Mark Coscarella two weeks ago, and so far the district is standing behind him, but that was before parents lashed out at a community input session on Wednesday night.

Discussion about the superintendent search is not on the agenda, but the Michigan Association of School Boards held the input session to get feedback and that's when about two dozen people showed up and made it clear they don't want Coscarella as their superintendent.

"I am deeply concerned about the current acting superintendent, I am requesting a thorough and publicly-reported out investigation," Debbie Nolan, a meeting attendee, said.

"I'm just appalled that they went ahead and hired someone without doing an investigation, without clearing everything up. This person is in charge of Lansing schools for an interim period," another person said.

"I've been in Lansing for about a year and a half now, going to have kids in the near future. I just want to make sure that Lansing schools is making the best decisions, and from everything I heard, it doesn't seem like they are doing that right now," another person at the meeting said.

Those are just some of the people that spoke out during Wednesday night's meeting hosted by the Michigan Association of School Boards. Many requesting an investigation into Coscarella's past -- after allegations about his past came to light.

One allegation was made by a former student teacher of his back in 2000. Casey Sterle, filed a police report accusing him of locking her in his classroom, while he stripped down to his underwear and danced.

"It's hard not to compare this to national and worldwide news of the #MeToo movement and all that. It's really difficult to try and sit back. I'm 30. I'm the millennial generation and very much about the human race and want to make sure we're all getting fair treatment," Curtis Vaden, a meeting attendee, said.

There are also allegations that Coscarella supplied pornography to Holt High School baseball players and allowed them to watch it on a trip to Florida when he was coach. He resigned in 2002. People at Wednesday night's meeting said this alone should have been enough for Lansing schools to disqualify him from the search.

"We're better than this. What if all candidates who came to us as superintendent had some type of blemish like this on their record? It would not be acceptable, none of them would be acceptable, none of them would be acceptable," Nolan said.

Coscarella has repeatedly denied Sterle's allegations and denies supplying the pornography to the team, but he did say he would do things differently regarding that trip.

On Wednesday, former superintendent Yvonne Camaal Canul said that she does not believe the woman accusing Coscarella of sexual harassment.

In an Oct. 31st interview with the Lansing State Journal, Canul called Casey Sterle quote "troubled" and accusing her of looking for her 15-minutes of fame.

Fox 47 has learned that Sterle has hired a lawyer who says those comments are "not only uncalled for, they are sexist, perpetuate victim-blaming and have no place in our community of healing."

The statement goes on to say Camaal Canul owes Sterle and the public an apology.

We have not been able to reach Camaal Canul for a response.

For more information on the search from MASB, click here.

Click here for a survey to provide feedback on the superintendent search.

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