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Posted on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Teacher firing upheld: Former Huron orchestra teacher Chris Mark's appeal denied

By Danielle Arndt


Huron orchestra teacher Chris Mark, right, and a number of his students stand and wait at an Ann Arbor school board meeting on Dec. 15, 2010, as the board voted to pursue tenure charges against Mark for inappropriate behavior.

Angela J. Cesere | file photo

Previous coverage:

A former Huron High School orchestra teacher, who contested his firing from the Ann Arbor Public Schools, was denied an appeal earlier this month, concluding the tenure case against him.

Christopher Mark was accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a student that included "grooming her" for a future romantic relationship and an "abuse of trust."

Court documents have revealed new details about the case and the teacher's relationship with the student, including Mark possibly buying the under-aged student a drink at a bar. They also show the district may have known about the allegations of impropriety against Mark in 2006, four years before pursuing tenure charges, but failed to investigate them properly.

The Ann Arbor Board of Education voted unanimously to pursue tenure charges against Mark in December 2010.

Mark was on paid leave from AAPS from July 26, 2010, through May 31, 2012, when the State Teacher Tenure Commission upheld a ruling by an administrative law judge with the Michigan Department of Education, granting the district's request to discharge him.

In Michigan, an administrative law judge serves as the initial decision-maker and he or she issues a preliminary order on all teacher tenure cases. It is the judge's responsibility to determine whether the school district had a reasonable and just cause for firing the tenured teacher. In the case of Mark, the judge found the Ann Arbor Public Schools was justified.

After a hearing before the Teacher Tenure Commission, the commission upheld the law judge's order, calling Mark "unfit to teach," according to court documents.

Mark "failed to use good judgment over an extended time. (He) had many opportunities to realize that his conduct exceeded the bounds of a professional. He nonetheless continued and intensified his inappropriate relationship with (the student)," the documents state.

Mark appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals to hear his case, but his appeal was denied on March 13 for "lack of merit on the grounds presented."

Mark could not be reached for comment for this article.

The tenure charges against Mark stemmed from a complaint filed in 2010 by the mother of one of his former students, who disapproved of an ongoing relationship between Mark and her daughter.

According to court documents, Mark and the student, whom is not naming because she was a minor during the time period of the allegations, began a dating relationship in the fall of 2006, after the girl turned 18 and no longer was a student at AAPS. That relationship was still going on when the board voted to pursue tenure charges.

Mark began his employment with the district in the fall of 2002, according to court documents. The student transferred to AAPS in August 2003 when she was 15 and a sophomore. The student no longer attended Huron High School after spring of 2006, documents say. Mark was 45 in 2010, while the former student was 22 at that time.

Mark's firing was controversial in the Ann Arbor Public Schools. He was a favorite teacher of many music students.

More than 150 supporters, including students, parents and Huron orchestra alumni, packed the Ann Arbor District Library's fourth-floor conference room on two separate occasions to ask the board not to pursue tenure charges against Mark. Supporters described him as a passionate, caring and inspirational teacher, who was a friend to all his students and only was trying to look out for the then-troubled teen.

Mark's attorney at the time, Nicholas Roumel, argued that although Mark's relationship with the student eventually did advance, this did not occur until after the girl had left Huron High School.

But for a single peck on the cheek from the student to the teacher, there was never any intimate contact, and no sexual advances were made while the student was enrolled in the district, Roumel said in previous reports.


Huron orchestra teacher Chris Mark listens to students speak in his defense at a Dec. 15, 2010, school board meeting.

However, the peck on the cheek occurred after a golf outing and subsequent evening visit to a tavern, where court documents allege Mark bought his student an alcoholic beverage.

According to court documents, on April 21-22, 2006, Mark and the student drove separate cars, met at a golf course, golfed for several hours and then went to a tavern for several hours. Mark told his wife he would be golfing with a friend that day, while the student also lied to her mother about whom she would be golfing with, according to the documents.

The student's mother found out about the golf outing shortly after it occurred and complained to school officials, documents say.

"However, Mr. (Arthur) Williams, the principal of the high school, failed to investigate the circumstances of (Mark's) conduct, failed to memorialize the facts, failed to memorialize his conversations with (Mark) and failed to give (Mark) a clear written directive to refrain from all contact with (student's name) outside the school," the administrative law judge wrote in his decision.

District spokeswoman Liz Margolis declined Wednesday to comment on the case or the administrative law judge's opinion that Williams failed to appropriately investigate the golf outing incident between the teacher and the student.

Mark's credit card receipt from the night of the golf outing shows he purchased two alcoholic beverages while at the tavern — a 25-ounce beer and a fuzzy navel.

When questioned by Williams after the golf outing in 2006 and again when questioned by the district during an August 2010 investigative interview, Mark denied drinking any alcohol that evening, according to the documents. He later testified before the State Tenure Commission, when presented with his credit card receipt, that he had purchased and consumed both drinks.

However, Mark could not name the ingredients of a fuzzy navel and his ex-wife, who had known him since 1983, testified that his preferred drink was beer or sometimes whiskey, but she had never known him to drink a fuzzy navel, documents show.

Based on this evidence, the administrative law judge found it was more likely the student consumed the fuzzy navel, court records show.

In addition, the State Tenure Commission and administrative law judge found Mark to be insubordinate. In the July 26, 2010, letter placing Mark on leave from AAPS, he was instructed not to contact any students, parents or staff during the district's investigation.

However, Mark posted the following to his Facebook page:

If I have ever made a positive impact on your life, my union advises that you must respond in writing if you feel my termination would be unjustified. ... . My life is in your hands. '05-07 are especially important. Please go viral. The time to act is now.

Phone records and emails exchanged between Mark and the student were the primary pieces of evidence used in the case.

The amount of email communication was described as "abundant" and the volume of telephone activity "tremendous" and "excessive." Court documents cited "very long" phone calls occurring multiple times per day and lasting "late into the night and early morning."

"There is no need for a teacher to have more than 300 telephone calls with a student in a little over a month," the administrative law judge wrote.

Court documents also indicate some of the emails may have been destroyed.

"When (Mark) turned over his district-issued computer to the district in October 2010, after he had been placed on administrative leave, the computer's store of emails had been wiped clean," say documents from the Teacher Tenure Commission. "A technical specialist employed by the district had serviced (Mark's) computer in April 2009, however, and had been able to recover a significant amount of data from the computer, including emails."

Mark denied allegations that he destroyed any emails to hide impropriety. He argued his relationship with the student during the student's enrollment at Huron was an appropriate, teacher-student relationship.

But the State Tenure Commission said the emails between the two primarily address each others' personal matters, including their mental and physical health, and "very little else." The administrative law judge concluded the emails Mark wrote were focused on developing a relationship with his student.

His disclosure of his personal life was deemed to "not serve any legitimate educational purpose and … was unprofessional in that it blurred the distinction between (his) appropriate role as a teacher and his apparent inappropriate purpose to become her confidant."

Mark was found to have taken on the role of psychologist and psychiatrist for the student, "a role which (Mark) was ill-equipped to handle," and his "efforts to counsel (the student) far exceeded the boundaries of a music teacher counseling a music student," according to court documents.

Court documents also state: Mark "flattered and cajoled" the student into viewing him as her sole confident; he gave her special treatment; he behaved in a "peer-like manner" with the student, often using profanity in correspondences; he encouraged the student to "part ways" with her high school boyfriend; he attempted to isolate her from her mother; and he also engaged in "yelling matches" with the student's mother about what was best for the student, violating the teacher-student relationship and interfering with the parent-child relationship.

The following is an excerpt from an email Mark sent to the student's high school boyfriend in the spring of 2006, shortly before he and the student became an item:

"I wanted to apologize to you about everything that's happened recently... For the past 3 years, I have only tried to help her gain confidence and to graduate from school so that she can attend college. I admit I lacked the proper judgement the night we golfed and last week when we went to Applebee's... I do consider her to be a true friend, but I refuse to jeopardize your relationship with her.

A talent like (student's name) enters a teacher's life only once in a career and I can't let her give up on herself or her ability... She adores you, (boyfriend's name), and wants you to be there for her but, in all honesty, the relationship you have shared has been unhealthy for you both. How long can you sustain it in its current state? 3 more years? Maybe 5? ... I am certain of this: her lack of self-worth can be regained through her ... music.

Wouldn't you be happier with a (student's name) who is confident in her self and ability? Being happy and confident in your separate lives will make you both more positive when you are together... Having a clinging, self-destroying wife will wear you down very quickly... It will only create resentment in you and more fear and worry in (her). Take a close look at her mother and realize (student's name) could end up just like her. Is that the mother you want for your children?"

In 2010, Roumel argued the school board was viewing the emails exchanged between Mark and his student from 2003 to 2006 in the context of their then-romantic relationship and therefore was painting Mark in a "false light."

"(The communications) were guided from Mr. Mark's sense of responsibility to reach out to a student who literally was in danger of losing her life because of her unstable home situation," Roumel said in a previous report.

Also in 2010, he asked school board trustees to reconsider the charges against Mark and to reach a decision that would not fire the instructor or commence tenure proceedings.

Roumel did not represent Mark during the tenure process with the state, only during Mark's investigation and hearings with AAPS and the Board of Education in 2010. Because of this, Roumel declined to comment on the conclusion of this case when contacted by Tuesday.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at


Sam S Smith

Sat, Mar 30, 2013 : 8:24 p.m.

I implore everyone to please read about or go to You Tube about psychopathy and predators!

Sam S Smith

Sun, Apr 21, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

Barb, I also advocated reading about the subject. And yes, there are some good You Tubes on psychopathy and predators.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

Really? YouTube is the best place to get real information? If only that were the case...


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:59 p.m.

For all the readers out there, to some Mr. Mark may have been a great, inspirational leader, but to some of us in his orchestra, he wasn't all that great. He at times acted childish and immature, and while he may have been passionate about music, some of us were never overly impressed by his talents. And to those that are hiding behind the fact that "he was going through a tough time" and "you don't know the whole story", I'm sure Chris and his lawyer made sure the commission knew all of these facts, and they still decided against him. And in matters not whether the relationship officially started when she was of legal age, it is obvious through the emails that an emotional relationship had developed between a student and a teacher while they were still in their respective teacher/student roles. Such a man is not fit to be in a authority position ever again. Each and every one of you would be singing a different tune if this was your child. Put yourself in the mother's shoes. Who can you trust if not the teachers you send your children off to every day.


Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 3:43 a.m.



Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:43 p.m.

@Chester Drawers, a better choice of words on my part would have been "new" teacher. It is my understanding that Mr. Mark had not taught in a high school environment before starting at Huron. Hence some helpful comments from colleagues about how that all works would have been helpful. @Sam Smith, I did reply to your question - maybe it's being moderated. Short version: Mr. Mark would never (did never) pursue my daughter; the situation that cost him his job was an unusual, atypical situation for reasons that have not so far been made public.

Sam S Smith

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 1:25 a.m.

In answering my question, because it wasn't your daughter, it's OK then? Can any reason possibly condone this behavior? I can think of none but if you know something, then please share it. BTW, the football players in Ohio didn't think there was anything wrong with what they did too.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:16 p.m.

Did you read the article?

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:21 p.m.

Just to note: Due to the nature of this story and number of blocked comments on this story this story is on "pre-moderation" status. As a result you may see a delay in you comment appearing on the site. Thank you for your understanding.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:17 p.m.

This is a sad story for me to read. Mark was a major inspiration in my life when I didn't give to shakes about it. He was also in a troubled point in his life that I will not go into detail about. Another issue that bothers me is the relationship did not take place until after she was of age and it was consensual. As fer as the e-mails are concerned; I can't agree that it was the best way to go about things, but almost anyone under the same pressure would have acted similar. I also don't agree that the drink (which it wasn't proven the girl drank) was the best decision. This man is (nonetheless) a great teacher with a lot of knowledge to share. If he were put in a similar situation again, I know he would do differently. I hope he does find another job in which he could teach and hope most of you will understand; not only are we humans, people, but he is a good man that many, many people looked up to in his time (people that needed guidance) and he also didn't actually break any obvious laws.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

My comment said that he was essentially convicted by a particular cocktail, which is EXACTLY what happened. I went on to say that it wouldn't hold up under the "reasonable doubt" standard because it wouldn't. Both true statements, and both on-topic. You have no reason to censor it - sorry. If you're going to keep doing it they you shouldn't even print these types of "articles".

Sam S Smith

Fri, Mar 29, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

He lied about everything in this incident not just the drinks! And why lie if you didn't do anything wrong?

Angry Moderate

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

There is no reasonable doubt standard because it's not a criminal trial. Also, he got caught red-handed lying about the drinks: he claimed that there was NO alcohol that night, and then changed his story when the credit card receipts came out as proof.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:03 p.m.

Well, the 300 phone calls were a little over the top.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

I totally agree with you about the censorship! Someone has a one way agenda here that isn't very objective...


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:10 p.m.

Authors of some of the more shocking comments here should remember there are many people involved in this sad story, including Mr. Mark's two young children and his family, and the young woman and her family. Uninformed wild speculation about Chris Mark's character and intentions, the actions of Huron administrators, the intentions of the young woman or her family, and the presence or absence of her father, shed no light on these events and in some cases might constitute libel, if Mr. Mark, or Mr. Williams, or the girl's father, chose to lawyer up. There are no winners here. Mr. Mark has already paid heavily by losing a job he very much loved. Students at Huron have lost an extremely talented musical leader, as shown by the very many awards won by the three orchestras Mr. Mark managed. Anyone who has attended AAPS' Orchestra Night has seen the high quality of Chris Mark's teaching skills on display. I wish Mr. Mark had made better choices. I wish Arthur Williams had made better choices seven years ago. I wish the music administration at Huron had offered a young teacher better mentoring, and had expected less from him in the way of teacher/student/parent interactions and fund-raising on top of a full teaching day. I wish the AAPS teachers, in these days of do-more-with-less, were not so often put in the position of student counselors, for which they are mostly not trained, and where there are few bright lines about when is too far. My daughter received an excellent musical education from Mr. Mark, and I for one am sorry to see him leave the teaching profession. A helpful word from a mentor long ago might have kept these events from happening. This situation is a loss for everyone involved.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:15 p.m.

Yes, I do feel very bad for his children! If he didn't appeal this, perhaps all of these facts would not be out. Is he thinking, did he think of his children?

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

Sam: my opinion on the case and on Mr. Mark is immaterial here. I was simply remarking that I appreciated huronparent providing some thoughtful perspective that could serve as a reminder to people to be conscious of other parties -- particularly those parties not directly involved but still impacted by this case, such as Mr. Mark's children -- when posting comments. Next time I'll be more clear about which part of a long post I'm responding to.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:26 p.m.

Thank you for understanding this man and his situation. He was one the most influential teachers and people in my life when I had hardly any direction, if any. I also thank you for pointing out the awards he's helped win and I would like to add how hard he fought for the music program at Huron, the way he worked hard to organize the cluster of instruments that were thrown around the closets, and the small recording studio he built from scratch from his own sweat and money for the students to use, create and learn from.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

huron parent, please answer the question about so what if this was your daughter? Son?

Chester Drawers

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Huron Parent, While I appreciate your attempt to look at this sad story with some compassion, the article states that Mr. Mark started with the district in 2002. If I am reading things correctly, he would have been 37 years old; not what I would consider a "young teacher." He certainly should have been mature enough to appreciate the possible consequences of his actions.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

Danielle Arndt, still waiting for your answer about so what if this was your daughter? Son?

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:40 p.m.

Danielle Arndt, "helping us maintain the appropriate perspective?" What if this were your daughter? Mr. PP should have known about appropriate behavior, perspective, teaching, professionalism!

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

So what if this was your daughter?

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

huron parent, thank you for this thoughtful comment and for helping all of us to maintain the appropriate perspective.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:23 p.m.

Yes, Mr. PP should have thought about his family, this young woman and her family, his students and their parents, what professionalism and teaching truly is. Mr. PP thought only of himself.

Some Guy

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

Mr. Mark was the most passionate, motivating teacher I ever had. I've played under countless teachers since I began playing my instrument and the only class I ever looked forward to attending was Mr. Mark's.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

Court documents also state: Mark "flattered and cajoled" the student into viewing him as her sole confident; he gave her special treatment; he behaved in a "peer-like manner" with the student, often using profanity in correspondences; he encouraged the student to "part ways" with her high school boyfriend; he attempted to isolate her from her mother; and he also engaged in "yelling matches" with the student's mother about what was best for the student, violating the teacher-student relationship and interfering with the parent-child relationship.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:30 p.m.

So what if this were your child?


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

Well, good! That clears him.

Jenn McKee

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

As a former longtime band student - in the Brighton Schools system, not Ann Arbor - these stories always disturb me, and make me wonder why band teachers seem to be more often the focus of such investigations than any others. Or maybe that's just a misapprehension on my part?


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 9:46 p.m.

Jenn, I disagree with the band teacher focus. If it is more prevalent it may be because of the after school practices. The incidents I recall from high school were a history teacher (man-girl) and a counselor (man-boy).


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

It's certainly not limited to music teachers. I'm aware of this, and worse, happening with academic subject area teachers.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 7:16 p.m.

Band and orchestra teachers spend much more time with their students than other teachers. There are Saturday and evening events, after school rehearsal, camps, and overnight trips. PLUS these music teachers sometimes have the same students for four (and sometimes longer) years. Lots of time for a predator to groom a victim. And there's a passion in music that has obviously been misdirected in the case above. But fortunately these cases are the minority. Most music directors have a professional respect for their students that knows its boundaries.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

Jenn, I'm actually glad you commented to this effect and would be curious to see if our readers have similar thoughts or not. It appears that way to me as well. We actually had something similar to this situation happen at my school district (west side of the state, Rockford Public Schools) when I was a middle school band student, late 90s/early 2000s. That relationship was between a high school student and the band director and also was just as heated, in some respects tearing the band community in the district apart when he resigned, with many parents, students and alumni still supporting him.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

I understand everyone's disgust at having paid this money for two years. However, think if he had not been paid and found innocent of the charges. Would he have been economically ruined. Fortunately the tenure law has been revised and getting rid of the "bag apples' in the classroom will be easier. It could be worse and have a "Romper Room" like New York.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

Wow! No wonder Unions are so scared about RTW. And I quote! "Mark was on paid leave from AAPS from July 26, 2010, through May 31, 2012, when the State Teacher Tenure Commission upheld a ruling by an administrative law judge with the Michigan Department of Education, granting the district's request to discharge him." This GUY was paid his full salary for almost 2 years. The Union was protecting a Perv. Incredible! This would NEVER happen in the PRIVATE sector!


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

It does happen in the private sector, depending on the union contract. And...RTW will not solve the tenure issue with firing people. Once they have tenure they are almost impossible to fire. It takes a huge amount of work to document the situation and make a firing happen.

Usual Suspect

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

If all the stuff attributed to the court documents is true, then.... ewwww. WAY out of bounds.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

"However, Mark could not name the ingredients of a fuzzy navel and his ex-wife, who had known him since 1983, testified that his preferred drink was beer or sometimes whiskey" Ex-wife huh?Why did they get a divorce? Did she not like the fact that he was dating a teenager? There is a valuable lesson to be learned here children: never trust anyone with two first names.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

That made me LOL.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

Divorce happened after all of this started coming out. At the time of the golf outing, he was still married to his then wife. At the time of the golf outing the student was still at Huron and under 18 and he bought her a drink.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

How clumsy ... Using his work email account instead of a personal email account under an assumed name. Using his credit card instead of cash. Lucky for us, they are so confident that they will never get caught; they are convinced that they are so clever, that they don't bother covering their tracks.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Not only that - still convinced he did nothing wrong. Textbook case.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

It sounds like HE thinks he didn't do anything worthy of being "caught" (and still doesn't).


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 3:45 p.m.

Wait he was married too? Oh man yeah this is probably for the best, can't have a guy cheating on his wife with students. That's not ethical or moral behavior. I'm sorry he lost his job, but he really should have known better than doing this

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:38 p.m.

When someone does things like this, no one should feel sorry that this person lost his/her job!

John of Saline

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Wonder if he'll try to find a nice community college somewhere to set out nets for a new troubled young woman that's just over 18.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Is there any solid evidence that something was going on other than normal teacher-student relationship between the two when she was under 16 or still a student at Huron?


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

" The whole article you just read" ...sort of assuming a lot there, Tim. Reading the article is not a prerequisite for commenting.

Tim Hornton

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

Yes! The whole article you just read showed he wanted a relationship while she was in school. Maybe not under 16 though. If that were the case then CSC charges could be brought but they weren't. Anyway nobody brought up the age of consent argruement anyway. What's your point?


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

"began a dating relationship in the fall of 2006, after the girl turned 18 and no longer was a student at AAPS. " Wait....wait....what? That's not against the law last time I checked....she's not a minor...and she is NOT a subordinate to him. that I read more....all the email correspondence with the "grooming" conversations sounds kinda creepy. Once again...USING THE COMPANY EMAIL...


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

This is an example of why people are in favor of right to work.

Chester Drawers

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

And there are lots of states where teachers are not unionized (mostly in the south) that have tenure.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

a2mom - Right to work will not fix the tenure system, nor will it fix a principal ignoring his duty. Firing teachers is hard, very, very hard in Michigan once they have tenure. If you don't believe me, look up how many cases get to the administrative law judge in the state, a step in the finalization of a firing. Most districts play "lets make a deal" with the teacher leaving with a great review, and they then can go off and setup some place else as a teacher.

Ivor Ivorsen

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

I appreciate your tacit acknowledgement that RTW is in fact about busting unions and limiting worker's rights--not about "worker freedom" and "jobs." Nothing in RTW legislation would have prevented this man from doing what he did.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:56 p.m.

don't get it twisted.

Dr. Fate

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Also, don't ever be that guy who emails a girl's boyfriend to break up with her. I don't care if you are a teacher, a father, or a boyfriend (or want to be all three in this case). It will never end well.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

I would love to know the rest of the story. This is what I have managed to get out of this story. They started dating when she was 18 (a legal adult), and no longer a student in the AAPS (meaning the laws regarding relationships with students no longer apply). The mother then reported the relationship to the school board in 2010 (when he was 45 and she was 22). The issue seems to revolve around when it actually started and what is considered as the starting point of the relationship. There has to be more to this story then just the fact he had a relationship with a former student. That part is Icky (I completely agree), but doesn't appear to be illegal or to violate any terms of employment that would hold up in court. What is the rest of the story? As for the paid leave. The one change to the paid leave of absence tenure charge rule that I have always favored is to continue the pay as unpaid leave until the tenure commission makes a final ruling and then if they rule in favor of the school district, the unpaid leave amount must be repaid. Had he won with the tenure commission then the AAPS would not be able to recoup the leave payments. This is one reason why the tenure process in Michigan is used so little when it should have been used a lot more. The process is so expensive and slow. It took 2 years to work its way through the system, meaning 2 years, and likely well over 100K to make its way through the system to reach the tenure commission.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

I think it's the part about where the school district recovered a TON of deleted email correspondence between the two of them....and that the conversations clearly indicated him "grooming" her. They printed the letter he wrote to her boyfriend...and it reads EXACTLY like something a manipulative person would say. I was initially with you on the whole...she was 18 when they started dating thing...until I read the rest of the article...


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:17 p.m.

re-read the article. The drink in question was April 21-22, 2006, well before graduation. Either way, she wasn't 21 yet.

Dr. Fate

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

I usually start reading these kind of articles with an open mind because they tend to devolve into a mob mentality witch hunt, but this is a pretty overwhelming pile of evidence on this guy. The email to the boyfriend, the bar, the golf outing, the alcohol, plus the sheer volume of calls and emails at all times of the day and night, wow. I'm sure his students like him because he is passionate about teaching them but he really snowballed out of all propriety here. He should count himself lucky that he doesn't get charges for buying a minor alcohol or contributing to delinquency, etc. And the whole plead to his students to "go viral" on his case, ugh. First off, to borrow from a couple memes, one does not simply go viral. Stop trying to make viral happen, Mr.Mark. It is never going to happen. Second, with all damning evidence of his inappropriate behavior, the LAST thing this guy should want is for more people to hear about it because they are all going to reach the same damning conclusion: didn't you see the beginning of Election (1999)? Being a concerned teacher or surrogate father figure is one thing, but that responsibility morally precludes entering into a more intimate relationship, even more so as a teacher. As a personal friend of mine (who is really into parkour and arachnids) once said, "With great responsbility comes great power."


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

"Second, with all damning evidence of his inappropriate behavior, the LAST thing this guy should want is for more people to hear about it because they are all going to reach the same damning conclusion: didn't you see the beginning of Election (1999)? " So I read this part....and I swear saw a bunch of lights flash, bells ring, whistles scream, and sirens wail. Oh and some flags popped up waving with glitter everywhere.... I think you won something...


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Looking out for a troubled teen, maybe he picked the wrong profession, buying an alcoholic Fizzy is probably not a good for starters. It doesn't surprise anyone that the union supported and encouraged him to post his dilemma on Facebook, good advice.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1 p.m.

William likely didn't know exactly who he was: 'Who is this Mark guy? Well then who is this Chris guy? Are there two guys? Is Chris 18 yet? Does she go to school here? Oh, this is all too confusing to me, I'm going jogging with the football team. Can we get an assistant or somebody to look into this affair Mark was having with Chris?'

Chris Blackstone

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

This is another reminder that there is absolutely no need for contact between a teacher and an opposite-gender student that isn't at least viewable by another adult.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

@Chris - this could also happen between same-gender students and teachers. I understand the point you are making though and agree that viewable by another adult is important but it isn't the gender that guarantees safety if an adult wants to behave in an out-of-bounds or predatory way. I commend this mother for persisting in filing charges. It could not have been easy for her to stick with this given the public outcry to protect a popular teacher.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Or any child or young adult regardless of gender! (Jerry Sandusky!--beyond sick!)


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

The Tale of the Fuzzy Navel, lol. I wonder what Mr Mark's spouse thinks of this part of his email to the ex-boyfriend: "Having a clinging, self-destroying wife will wear you down very quickly" So, er, this Principal Williams...and all those "failures"....what's up with that?

Basic Bob

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

@Dr. Fate, No irony here, just manipulation. A therapist explained to us that healthy people are not attracted to unhealthy people.

Dr. Fate

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

The irony being that he is pursuing the young lady he describes as a potential "clinging, self-destroying wife."


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

I suspect Arthur Williams will be 'retiring' this year... If not, he should be run out of the district on a rail.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

A pretty sad state of affairs where a grown man has to troll a high school for a girlfriend.

Barb's Mom

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

"Court documents have revealed new details about the case ....the district may have known about the allegations of impropriety against Mark in 2006, four years before pursuing tenure charges, but failed to investigate them properly." Is anything going to be done about the district not acting on what they knew?


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

In a word, no. Nothing will be done because the person most directly responsible for the failure to investigate is untouchable. The very most that will happen is that Huron principal Dr. Arthur Williams will be strongly encouraged to retire at the end of this school year.

Basic Bob

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

If they were to discipline someone, it would probably involve a lengthy contract extension, promotion, and release of obligation to show up to work for a few years.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

"... my union advises that you must respond in writing ..." I don't wonder why so many people support right to work.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

Susie Q, his Facebook post specifically mentions the union's advice about soliciting positive reviews "in writing."

Angry Moderate

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

Again, those "protections" will no longer have to be subsidized by the people who don't wish to pay for them (namely, non-pedophiles). That is the difference.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

"RTW allows the rest of us to opt out of having a bite taken out of our paychecks to support the union's fight for 2 years of paid leave for pedophiles." Yup. And it requires that pedophiles who are not paying union dues get the same protections as those who do. BB is correct. RTW does nothing to change this circumstance. Nothing. GN&GL

Susie Q

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

I suspect Mr Marks' union rep DID NOT advise him to solicit positive reviews on his Facebook page.

Angry Moderate

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

Basic Bob, RTW allows the rest of us to opt out of having a bite taken out of our paychecks to support the union's fight for 2 years of paid leave for pedophiles.

Basic Bob

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Sometimes union rules protect the wrong people. RTW does not change this, since the bad apples will pay their union dues as a form of malpractice insurance.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

My god, it sure is hard to fire a government employee. 2 years paid leave? Government possisions should be at will. Unions and contracts that hold the taxpayers hostage are becoming quite the problem. Just one little example here, and one big one in Detroit.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Creepy, indeed. It's disgusting that we had to pay his salary for two years while the firing process dragged on.

Basic Bob

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Two years paid leave for someone who violated the rules and was fired. It should have been immediate. Can they recover the wages paid for two years of no work?


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

This is a good result. The public needs to seed that flagrantly off-base teachers actually can be weeded out of the schools. I've been in public schools for a long time and we used to sort of joke about what one would have to actually do to get fired from a public school teaching position......drugs, drinking, sex with students, etc. Pretty difficult to actually pursue action against perpetrators with all the whimpering and anguish from the enablers and supporters of people like this. This guy can try to pull his life together and start a new career.....or hit the road and try to delude employers and others in an attempt to stay in "teaching".


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

Sam S Smith. His career as a teacher is virtually over. One of the questions just about every teaching related position asks is along these lines. Have you ever been denied tenure of lost tenure during your teaching career. If he fails to truthfully answer a simple background check would find he is lying. If he answers correctly, then he immediately gets dumped because he has a tenure issue on his record. He might be able to get a job in a non-educational music related career, but given this is out in the news, and is now very easily found in internet searches, that might even be difficult. I think McDonald's might be hiring.

Sam S Smith

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : noon

His career as a "teacher" should be forever flagged so that he never "teaches" or be in a position to "counsel" anyone again! This man is dangerous!

5c0++ H4d13y

Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

You're holding this up as a good example? SMH


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

Now that we know that this individual did indeed violate terms of his employment and possibly broke the law, will the taxpayers be getting back any of the two years of paid leave provided under the guise of "innocent until proven guilty?"


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Nope, there is no mechanism to get the money back. None at all, that is part of the tenure system in the state's schools. Have a nice day.


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Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 10:50 a.m.

Teachers and administrators are "mandatory reporters" with regard to child abuse. If there is reasonable suspicion that the relationship might have started while she was a minor, the principal was obligated to report the situation to the proper child protective authorities. That is the law under which some of the Penn State administrators were charged. Institutions and their administrators who "don't want to know", should not get off the hook so easily.


Thu, Mar 28, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

I suspect Arthur Williams will be 'retiring' this year... If not, he should be run out of the district on a rail.