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01/26/76 BEEBEE v. HASLETT PUBLIC SCHOOLS

January 26, 1976

BEEBEE
v.
HASLETT PUBLIC SCHOOLS



Appeal from Ingham, Ray C. Hotchkiss, J.

Leave to appeal applied for.

McGregor, P. J., and T. M. Burns and N. J. Kaufman, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Schools and School Districts -- Review -- Teachers' Tenure Commission -- Standard of Review -- Constitutional Law -- De Novo Review.

The standard of review of a decision of the Teachers' Tenure Commission is the determination of whether the decision is authorized by law, and, if a hearing was held, whether the decision is supported by competent, material and substantial evidence on the whole record; a de novo review by a trial court, in which the court reviewed the record and made its own determination concerning the credibility of witnesses, the weight of evidence and the merits of the case, was improper (Const 1963, art 6, § 28).

2. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers -- Dismissal of Teachers -- Teaching Philosophy.

A school board which disagrees with the teaching philosophy of a tenured teacher whose students' achievement level is equal to that of their peers may not dismiss the teacher solely because of the disagreement.

3. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers -- Dismissal of Teachers -- Fitness to Teach.

Just and reasonable cause for dismissal of a tenured teacher can be shown only by significant evidence proving the teacher is unfit to teach; the focus of this evidence must be the effect of the questioned activity on the teacher's students and, secondarily, the effect on other teachers and school staff.

4. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers -- Dismissal of Teachers -- Fitness to Teach -- Factors Considered.

A board of education, in determining whether a teacher's conduct indicates unfitness to teach, may consider such matters as: the likelihood that the conduct may have adversely affected students or fellow teachers; the degree of such adversity anticipated; the proximity or remoteness in time of the conduct; the type of teaching certificate held by the teacher; the extenuating or aggravating circumstances, if any, surrounding the conduct; the likelihood of recurrence of the questioned conduct; and the extent to which disciplinary action may inflict an adverse impact or chilling effect upon the constitutional rights of the teacher involved or other teachers.

5. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers -- Dismissal of Teachers -- Fitness to Teach -- Specific Determinations.

A board of education and the Teachers' Tenure Commission should, in each case involving a teacher's discharge, make specific determinations concerning the teacher's knowledge of his subject, his ability to impart it, the manner and efficacy of his discipline over his students, his rapport with parents and other teachers, and his physical and mental ability to withstand the strain of teaching; the effect on the school and its students of the acts alleged to require dismissal must be delineated in every case.

6. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers -- Teachers' Tenure Act -- Dismissal of Teachers -- Detrimental Effects.

The teachers' tenure act does not deprive local school boards of their statutory administrative control over teachers, but a discharge of a tenured faculty member based on curriculum policy is required to be rationally and specifically related to a detrimental effect on ...


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