Local Teacher Suspended After Allegedly Assaulting Student

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

A sixth-grade science teacher at Lansing's Dwight Rich Middle School won't be coming to work Monday as he begins a three-day suspension without pay for what the school district calls "a violation of corporal punishment."

Matthew Pierson is accused of pushing an eighth grader on March 9 when the student wouldn't follow directions. The student's father. Marcel Richardson, told News 10 there is a surveillance video of this incident, but he and his son are waiting to see it before they go public.

Regardless, after more than a month of investigation, the district found Pierson did indeed violate school punishment policies.

Lansing Schools' spokesman Steve Serkaian issued this statement on behalf of the district:

"This is a very serious situation the Lansing School District takes very seriously. It's a severe disciplinary action that is being taken given the cirumstances."

In a phone interview, Marcel Richardson said he filed a police complaint on behalf of his son Thursday and is speaking to his lawyer on how else to proceed with this case. He says the three days suspension isn't enough.

But the school district believes its actions are fitting.

"[His] was a regrettable action," Serkaian says. "The situation shouldn't have happened, but we believe [our actions are] appropriate."

A phone call was made to Pierson, who declined to comment on his suspension. Serkaian says Pierson had no prior disciplinary history. He'll return to school Thursday, and as far as the district's concerned, Pierson has paid an appropriate price.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by J Location: Grand Rapids on Apr 19, 2007 at 05:42 PM
    Not only did the student assault another kid but , the kid is special needs. Now why isn't this all over the news? Wilx is one sided. Now the father of this special needs kid should get a lawyer.
  • by teacher Location: dwight rich on Apr 18, 2007 at 05:01 PM
    The student that was alledgedly assaulted is presently on suspension for assaulting another student. He has been suspended so many times during his tenure at Rich I do not know if he has been in school more days than he has been out! The father is looking for a scapegoat. The student didn't tell his father about the alledged incident because he wanted to enjoy his birthday and receive his gifts first. The discipline or lack of it is rampant throughout the school district! We do everything in our power to keep these students in school because they represent $$$$$.
  • by Monica Location: Lansing on Apr 18, 2007 at 08:04 AM
    Lack of respect isn't isolated to the Lansing School District students and those of you that are insinuating that this type of disrespect doesn't happen everywhere, you need to stop living in la la land. As far as this incident with the teacher and the student, what would your reaction be if this were your child, what would you do? You get respect when you give it, there are boundaries for teachers, as well as the students and it seems as though this teacher crossed those boundaries. Don't be so quick to judge until you have been put in that situation.
  • by Kylie Location: Lansing on Apr 17, 2007 at 07:03 AM
    I am a student at Sexton High and I had Mr. Pierson in the sixth grade. These actions are very suprising to me because he is a very kind and understanding man. I think the student must have really upset him and he just did what was his first thought, which isn't always the best thing to do. Three-day suspension is enough; the news hasn't put out too much information, so I (or most people) don't know what really happend, but it couldn't have been as bad as everyone thinks it is. The student most likely blew it out of proportion. I hope Pierson is back at D. Rich by thursday and everything will go back to normal, there will be no further charges.
  • by Judy Location: Grand Ledge on Apr 16, 2007 at 07:54 PM
    Teaching has changed so much over the past few years. We have people raising these kids who don't have a clue what parenting is all about. Maybe if this brat had been disciplined at home - he would know how to show respect to teachers and adults. Unfortunately the ability to discipline these kids have been taken away from the teachers and administrators. All they can do now is send the kid home or suspend them. Nice - all we need are more hoodlums on the streets during the day in Lansing. The dad needs to explain to the kid that there are consequences for your actions and he shouldn't have been disrespectful in the first place - put the blame where it should be placed - ON THE PARENTS.
  • by Tammy Location: East Lansing on Apr 16, 2007 at 01:33 PM
    Poor Teacher! It is a shame the teacher is being punished for taking control of a student. According to the news accounts, the child was being disrespectful. Punk children need to be put in their place. Obviously, he is not being taught proper manners at home and someone needs to step in, before the prison system does. Give the control back to the teachers/Adults. Demand RESPECT! The kids will respond.
  • by Stephanie Location: Lansing on Apr 16, 2007 at 09:36 AM
    I can't believe that the parent is pursuing legal action. Why doesn't the kid's father homeschool him instead? Oh...too much effort and the kid is a pain in the rear end. I get it.
  • by Vickie Location: Haslett on Apr 16, 2007 at 09:26 AM
    Brittany from Holt, you need to learn how to spell. It's obvious your a student. I've seen and witnessed how students disrespect authority. Why has no one mentioned what the student did to deserve to be pushed? Why is it always about the adult or teacher. As far as his Parent (s) contacting a lawyer, he should spend his time and energy teaching is child TO RESPECT AUTHORITY.
  • by Donna Location: Williamston on Apr 16, 2007 at 09:21 AM
    Big fat deal! The teacher is demonstrating his authority which he SHOULD. No wonder the child has a lack of respect, his parent is going to "sue" and get a "lawyer". Is this going to be another race war? I bet the teacher is a white guy.
  • by butterbean Location: rockville md. on Apr 16, 2007 at 07:42 AM
    i do not know the full story to this other than what i have read here. i feel teachers have a hard enough time trying to teach a class to some kids,let alone be a daycare or whatever. i went to school in michigan back when you got your nose put up a wall or your ear got the tug.they were the same teachers that were really concerned when it came to teaching some thing.i remember when my 1st grade teacher kept me from recess to write on the black board,when it was better she let me go. i want to thank every teacher that gave me a cuff,grab my arm,tug at my ear. they were the teachers i remember fondly. they really cared.
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