The Associated Press reported this week that a former teacher who is now running for a U.S. House of Representatives seat in Michigan was issued a written reprimand this past June by his school for “intimidating and threatening students by grabbing their desks, yelling in their faces and slamming his fists on their desks.” According to school records, Kerry Bentivolio told his students at Fowlerville High School that they were “just a paycheck” to him and that he wanted to make each of them cry at least once. Bentivolio ended up resigning after reaching a settlement with the school district.
The AP also reported that Bentivolio, a Republican, “wrote on evaluations, reprimands and a teacher-improvement plan that the allegations against him were untrue and ‘politically motivated.’”
The Oakland Press interviewed several of Bentivolio’s former students, who gave mixed reviews about his character. One former student said Bentivolio had a bad reputation and was often “angry in the halls,” questioning whether he was a “troubled war vet.” Another said he thought Bentivolio was a “great teacher” and an “all around good guy that doesn’t deserve to be bashed for no reason.”
Bentivolio will face four other Republicans in a September 5 special primary election to fill the House seat abandoned by former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter. If he wins, Bentivolio would run against Democrat David Curson of Belleville in the November 6 election.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.