Teacher resigns after knife incident, students and parents speak out
LUCE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- A teacher and football coach resigned Monday night at a Tahquanemon Area School Board meeting.
The room was full of students and parents who wanted him to stay and thought the school board was wrong to let him go.
The veteran science teacher was greeted with a standing ovation when he entered the meeting.
Puckett was put on administrative leave after an incident where he threw a knife in a classroom.
After the board met privately with Puckett, he was asked to read a statement where he resigned and also admitted he was wrong.
“It’s not going to be easy when you’re disappointed, but let me tell you it won’t be the only time it happens in life where you’re disappointed, but you’re going to have to act a certain way," Puckett said. "When I’m done here tonight, I’m going to be able to walk out of this room with my head up.”
The school board read it's own statement while most people left the room.
Jeff Puckett has been having health problems and missed several days of work in the past few years.
Some of his supporters think that was more the school board's reason than the knife incident.
“They tried to get rid of him a couple of years ago, because of his health issue," said John Kronquist. "They didn’t succeed then, so this may be a bit of retaliation and revenge a lot of people think.”
“I’m worried that it’s about his health, and he is a ill man, but he is a wonderful man," said Mary Archambeau. "Last year when they were trying to get rid of him they talked about the fact that he had missed days and the kids said that three, four days with Mr. Puckett was worth two weeks with someone else.”
The knife incident, parents say was a safety demonstration Puckett had been doing for years.
“I know there were people in that classroom for a number of years for the same demonstration, never was an issue,” said Connie Hoy.
During his statement, Jeff Puckett acknowledged the knife demonstration was wrong and that he should be held accountable.
When he left the meeting, he was given hugs by dozens of the students who were there.
Puckett said he would still like to be involved with the school, if he is allowed, and possibly volunteer as a football coach.