Questions raised after Suttons Bay teacher resigns
The resignation of a northern Michigan teacher has raised questions about policies when it comes to relationships between teachers and students.
â??The policy says that a teacher's contact with a student, no matter what it is has to be professional,â?? said Michael Murray, Suttons Bay Public Schools Superintendent.
31-year-old Amy Linck resigned from her position Thursday as a Suttons Bay High School Spanish teacher.
She admitted to kissing an 18-year-old student on a trip to the Dominican Republic not sponsored by the school.
Murray says because of the student's age Linck did not do anything illegal, however, the school has policies in place that he says she did not uphold.
â??If you put it within the employment context it'd almost be like a supervisor subordinate type of situation but here you have a teacher who in the role of being a supervisor and having a relationship with a subordinate,â?? said Brad Banasika, legal counsel for the Michigan Association of School Boards.
Michigan is a local control state and it's up to each school district to create its own policies.
Legislation has recently been introduced in Lansing to set state-wide standards that would criminalize inappropriate relationships between students and teachers.
â??The legislature has on occasion temped to increase the age of consent to 18 or 19 years of age in regards to a school district context for inappropriate relationships between a teacher and a student.â??
â??The bills are in the works to change things but what we had in place in our policy was that the staff member whenever they're dealing with students has to deal with the students in terms of adult in charge and students,â?? said Murray.
The policy that Linck violated was created in 2011 by Suttons Bay administrators. It's a policy that many northern Michigan districts follow.
â??It deals not just with unprofessional conduct face-to-face but it also deals with restrictions on social media.â??
Suttons Bay allows students to be friends with teachers on social media sites, but it must be school related and an administrator must approve any on-line friendship.
Murray says Linck was an â??excellentâ?? teacher and the situation was a â??total surpriseâ?? to everyone at that school. She was employed with Suttons Bay Schools for the past six years.