By now, there’s hardly a person in the state of Michigan who doesn’t know the name Neal Erickson. In May of 2013, he pleaded guilty to – and was found guilty of – raping one of his students over a three-year period (2006-2009). He was sentenced to prison, and could serve up to 30 years.
Most would agree Erickson committed a heinous crime, However, in a bizarre turn of events, the Michigan Education Association defends Neal Erickson. First, the MEA requested that teachers in the district write letters supporting Erickson. Now, the union is fighting to obtain a $10,000 severance package for Erickson. While it may seem appalling, this odd response by the MEA is only one of many concerning this case:
- The church down the road from the victim’s family posted bail for Erickson.
- The mother of the victim is also an MEA member, and the union has refused to cover her chemotherapy treatments.
- Seven teachers wrote on behalf of Neal Erickson, claiming he “made a mistake,” as opposed to committing a heinous crime against a minor on and off for three years.
- The victim’s family has already been attacked, as their garage, camper and side of their house were lit on fire, and they have found threatening messages spray painted on their house.
Remember: Neal Erickson admitted guilt to his crimes.
As a result, around 90 parents have pulled their kids from the 2,000 student district, and with good reason. It’s impossible to understand why the Michigan Education Association defends Neal Erickson. It has not even stated the reasons behind its decisions. What all parents should take away from this, however, is that student safety in Michigan is, apparently, no longer the top concern of the MEA. If the Erickson case sets precedence, then perhaps student safety does not concern them at all.