Traverse City News and Events

TCAPS To Release Investigative Report

By Beth Milligan | Jan. 8, 2018

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) will release the findings this week of an external investigation into complaints from employees about alleged harassment and intimidation from district administrators.

Board members met in a special closed session Saturday to discuss the findings of the investigation. TCAPS board members previously hired David Revore of legal firm Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman P.C. to serve as special counsel in investigating complaints from the Traverse City Administrators Association (TCAA) about a pattern of “harassment and intimidation” experienced by multiple principals and assistant principals under the administration led by Superintendent Paul Soma. Though TCAA alluded to more than a dozen complaints, Revore’s investigation focused on three specific incidents, including disciplinary action imposed on staff at Traverse City West High School following the burial of the school’s spirit rock and complaints from East Middle School and the district’s human resources department.

After reviewing Revore’s report on those three incidents, board members cleared Soma of alleged wrongdoing and backed his authority to implement disciplinary action against West High School staff. “The board confirms that Mr. Paul Soma, as superintendent of the district, has the authority to impose discipline on administrators that is neither arbitrary or capricious and that the findings of this investigation do not limit his authority to impose discipline for the matters investigated,” board members wrote in a resolution they voted to adopt following Saturday’s closed session. “The board further confirms that Mr. Soma may proceed with disciplinary measures for the Spirit Rock incident, as provided in board policy section 1139.”

The board directed that Revore’s report be released to complainants and respondents in the investigation today (Monday) at noon, then released to any member of the public who submits a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the document beginning Wednesday.

The list of remaining outstanding complaints by TCAA could still lead to potential future action against Soma or other district leaders. As part of the resolution passed Saturday, board members authorized TCAPS’ counsel "to initiate a process to investigate and resolve all outstanding complaints and issues" not covered by Revore's initial investigation.

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