Millington Rallies Behind Coach At Board Meeting 9-09-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Millington Rallies Behind Coach At Board Meeting 9-09-2010

As expected Wednesday night's school board meeting in Millington drew a large crowd.
Many from the small Tuscola County community were interested to see how board members would discipline the school's principal and varsity football coach -- who is facing his second drunken driving charge.
Roger Bearss, 45, was arrested on July 25 after Bay City police stopped him for allegedly operating while intoxicated and driving the wrong way on a one-way street.
At the school board meeting Wednesday night, no one spoke out against Bearss -- but instead huddled around the coach and top school official.
TV5's Bill Walsh asked Millington resident, Leo Allard, if the drunken driving arrest sets a bad example for teenagers in the school district.
"I don' think so," Allard responded. "Most of the kids have parents that go out for dinner -- if you drink three beers and get stopped by the law -- you're over the limit."
But police records show Bearss registered .17 on a portable breath test for alcohol, double the legal limit in Michigan.
In 2003, Bearss pled guilty to driving while impaired near Traverse City. He was given two years worth of probation, a $550 fine and had to take a highway safety class.
At the time, Bearss was employed with the Frankenmuth School District.
Walsh reported that every person he spoke with at the school board meeting was there in support of Bearrs, including Millington resident Melissa Wilson.
Wilson was asked if she considered a school principal to be a role model.
"No, I am my child's role model," she said. "I don't my children to follow after sports figures or famous people. I want them to follow after me."
However, after the WNEM TV5 story aired the station newsroom received several e-mails and facebook posts saying not everyone in the community supports Bearss.
"I think it's disgraceful that people at the meeting were supportive," wrote Cheri Ames, a Millington resident. "Some of us hold school administrators and teachers to a higher standard. Its part of their job to act morally appropriate, weather they are at school or not."
The school board did meet in closed session with Bearss for nearly an hour.
Millington superintendent Lawrence R. Kroswek said its practice is not to comment on any employee, status or situation that may lead to disciplinary action.
But he did issue this statement: "The board had directed me to deal with this situation appropriately, come to a swift resolution, and that will be done."
Bearss declined an on-camera interview with WNEM TV5. He is due back in court on Sept. 24 for a pre-trail conference.
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