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Students show support for well-liked teacher

Posted at 9:15 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 06:54:30-05

LANSING, Mich. — Support for the teacher accused of ripping a student's Trump pin from her shirt is coming in.

Both current and former students have reached out to Fox 47 saying that they don't believe Paul Kato would ever do anything like that.

"Kato isn't just a teacher, he's a mentor," Ina Aker, 12 grader at Mason High School, said.

Aker said she doesn't believe the assault case that Sadie Earegood claims happened on Dec. 5 is the whole story.

"It's been the talk of the school so I just feel like it's unfair because anyone who has Kato, knows Kato, he's not that kind of person," Aker said.

Kato is a media technology teacher that has worked at Mason High School for years. Aker said Kato hasn't been in school since the alleged incident took place.

"He's been gone," Aker said. "A lot of classes are really struggling right now. Me personally, I can't even continue his class until he returns."

Kato is involved in the community and is the director of the school paper and video announcements.

"There's like a video put out every single day in the high school and he's in charge of that and did the production of that," Alexa Martin, a former student, said.

Kato is originally from Nigeria. Last year, he helped to build a residential soccer school, the Kato International Training Academy (KITA), which opened with 24 students.

"There's this fundraiser he has every year, it's called "Send Soccer," and hundreds of people participate, donate money, and it's all to raise money for his school and Nigeria for under privileged children," Aker said.

Kato has also coached the high school soccer team in Mason.

People who are speaking out are just looking for both sides of the story to be told.

"Her perspective must have been totally different than what Kato's perspective was, but from witnesses around it seemed as a jokingly matter," Aker said.

"Everyone is just outraged. That's just the best way I can put it. Everyone is just upset because they feel like there's more to the story than what's being said," Martin said.

Fox 47 has tried numerous times to get the other side of this story from Kato, Mason High School and the Mason Police Department.

Both the Mason School District and Mason Police have confirmed they are investigating the accusations, but have not released any other details.

The Mason School District has not confirmed with us that the allegations against Kato are true.

The dress code for Mason High School does not state anything about political paraphernalia not being allowed.

Fox 47 found this: Clothing that displays alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gang association, weapons, sexual or suggestive references, profanity, violence, intimidation or organizations promoting any of these are not appropriate.

It also states that: the School recognizes the right of students to express themselves. With the right of expression comes the responsibility to do it appropriately. Students may distribute or display, at appropriate times, non-sponsored, non-commercial written material and petitions; buttons, badges, or other insignia; clothing, insignia, and banners; and audio and video materials. All items must meet the following school guidelines: A. A material cannot be displayed if it: 1. is obscene to minors, libelous, indecent and pervasively or vulgar, 2. advertises any product or service not permitted to minors by law, 3. intends to be insulting or harassing, 4. intends to incite fighting or presents a likelihood of disrupting school or a school event. 5. Presents a clear and present likelihood that, either because of its content or manner of distribution or display, it causes or is likely to cause a material and substantial disruption of school or school activities, a violation of school regulations, or the commission of an unlawful act. 17 B. Materials may not be displayed or distributed during class periods, or during passing times between classes. Permission may be granted for display or distribution during lunch periods and after school in designated locations, as long as exits are not blocked and there is proper access and egress to the building. In order to insure whether or not materials they wish to display meet school guidelines, students must present them to the principal twenty-four (24) hours prior to display.

Fox 47 spoke with Kato's attorney who said they have no comment on the situation at this time.

Copyright 2019 WILX. All rights reserved.

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