Ex-Detroit Board President Barred From Child Contact

By Dakarai I. Aarons — July 07, 2010 1 min read
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A Michigan judge has ordered Otis Mathis, the former president of Detroit’s school board, to stay away from children as he faces charges related to an incident last month in which Mathis allegedly touched himself in an inappropriate manner while meeting with Detroit Superintendent Teresa Gueyser in a district office.

(Gueyser’s own future is a big question mark as the power struggle between the board and Robert Bobb, the state-appointed emergency financial manager for the school district, continues.)

Gueyser filed a complaint, which quickly made headlines, and Mathis resigned last month and was charged with obscene conduct and misconduct in office.

In addition to the order barring him from contact with children, Mathis is not allowed to attend school board meetings or talk to his former colleagues.

In a letter to board members last month, he wrote: “As you know, I have made inappropriate actions toward a professional employee of the board. I deeply regret my actions. I have apologized to the employee involved.”

The unsavory accusations aren’t the only trouble for Detroit’s schools. Even as the proposed budget for next year cuts spending severely, the district’s deficit has ballooned to more than $360 million in the past year, The Detroit News reports. It was about $219 million when Bobb took over last year.

As many of you avid readers know, Detroit is struggling to recover from more than a half-decade of deficit spending, even as serious academic and operational challenges loom.

Meanwhile, the district will have 52 new principals in place this fall and has begun work on a $500 million bond project approved by voters that demolishes vacant buildings, builds new schools, and makes improvements to other facilities.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.