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Wife Calls Investigation of Royal Oak High School Principal a 'Farce'

With Michael Greening on leave since mid-December, district officials say they are frustrated, too, but have been advised not to comment on the situation.

The wife of embattled  Principal Michael Greening addressed the on Thursday night in a tearful defense of the man she said deserves “common courtesy and respect.”

“For 14 years, Michael has invested his entire life to the School District of Royal Oak as if it was one of his children. However, you would never know that by the way the school district has treated him,” Beth Greening told the school board, choking back tears.

It has been a more than two months since Royal Oak High School parents and students received word that  "due to the possibility of financial irregularities in student activities funds." Since that time, no new information has been made available while the Royal Oak Police Department continues its investigation with no known timeline for resolution of the matter.

Beth Greening, speaking during a public comment period, told board members the situation has taken a toll on her entire family, including the couple’s two daughters who are students at Royal Oak High School. She called the investigation a farce.

“Please don’t give me the response that it is not in your hands and that it must run its course because at any time it is within your power as the School District of Royal Oak to say, ‘We have made a mistake,’ but you won’t," Greening said.

has been running the school as interim principal since early January when students and staff returned from winter break.

A couple of parents and three students joined Beth Greening at the school board meeting Thursday evening, pleading with board members to act in a timely manner and reinstate the principal in time to be a part of Royal Oak High School’s graduation ceremony in June.

“When I graduate I will be very disappointed if Mr. Greening is not the one handing me my diploma,” senior Emily Collick told the board.

Parent Beth Linenberg, who has a child at the high school, expressed her frustration with the length of time of the investigation.

“I can’t understand why the situation is going on so long,” Linenberg said. “I thought that to bring in the police there should be fairly strong evidence of suspicion of criminal wrong-doing, not some minor procedural or process infraction.”

Linenberg stated she wasn’t buying “the spin” that

“If the police have not found any evidence of criminal activity in over two months then it seems pretty unlikely that criminal activities have actually took place,” she said.

Board of Education President Gary Briggs told Greening’s supporters that the board members have been advised by attorneys and the Royal Oak Police not to comment on the situation.

“That is why we have not commented on it,” Briggs said. “I would ask you to be patient. This will be resolved and it will be explained in detail why it took time and what transpired in the process.”

“We probably are as frustrated as you about the time but it’s for everybody’s benefit.”

Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin said that he shared the frustration of those who want to see the situation resolved.  "Our commitment has been and is to be sure that the investigation is complete, thorough and fair. While the time such an investigation takes is trying, we do not want a rush to come to a conclusion to compromise the process. We have every confidence in the work our Royal Oak Police Department is doing" he said.

Tim Gaudet March 09, 2012 at 12:38 PM
I have had accountants audit a company 10 times larger than the school district in less time than this investigation has taken. The school district may have taken the appropriate action initially, but continuing at this point is a disgrace. The board should be embarrassed in how it continues to smear this good man’s name though it’s wrongful inaction.
William Bailey March 09, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Patience and not wanting to rush to a conclusion? These are nothing but weak statements by weak people. Is that the best the board and more importantly the school district can come up with? Way to rip through a man's family with your "neutral act" This has been disgusting from the very beginning. It is amazing how a school district with the sole purpose to teach can destroy the notion of innocence before guilt. Stop disrespecting Mike and place him back in his position where he deserves to be, teaching, educating and guiding our kids. Fix your mistake now, and follow the path that 600+ people already have. Save Greening: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003318453821
Sharon Galley Sherrow March 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
As a teacher in a neighboring district for over thirty years I am appalled at what the Royal Oak School Board and Board office have allowed to happen. Their mission is to raise "responsible life long learners." Teaching always comes first from example and modeling. What a sad example they are modeling for their students and children. Sharon Galley Sherrow
Michele Moore March 09, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Even if he was reinstated, would he want to remain an employee of this school district? I can't even imagine the toll this has taken on him and his family.
Pam Rusinowski March 09, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Selfishly, I hope that if he is offered reinstatement, that he does come back as principal because the parents and students of ROHS have been greatly benefited under his leadership at the high school but would certainly understand if he wanted to go elsewhere. I agree with the statement that if they had something to go on, this investigation would be concluded. Enough already. My prayers are with the Greening family.
Ferndale Resident March 09, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Although I live in Ferndale, I have a neighbor who told me about this ridiculous situation. For his and his family's sake, I hope the Board does the right thing and reinstates him- assuming he'd want to come back at all.
Donald Kevern March 09, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Having served as a secondary principal for over twenty years in a district close to Royal Oaky, I cannot imagine why any investigation has taken so long. I have know Michael for a long time and consider him to be a top notch administrator. I concur with all of the remarks made by his wife, Beth. I am stunned that no one has sped up the process. Michael made his mark with Royal Oak. He has been a fine man, and a fine principal. He has given his heart and soul to the high school. He most definitely needs to be returned to the students and parents who have such high regard for him. After retiring from public school work and becoming a support pastor, I had the privilege of conducting the wedding for Beth and Mark. I was deeply impressed with the sincerity and the honesty which encompassed each of them. Let's get Michael back to the position that he earned and respected. Don Kevern
Doug March 09, 2012 at 09:49 PM
I can appreciate the school board wanting to investigate what might have been inappropriate activities. I can even understand wanting to remove Mr Greening from the situation while the investigation is underway. But the length of time it's taking seems ridiculous. I would believe this is a fairly high priority to resolve as R.O. is now paying for two high school principals as well as the investigation itself. This is either a Kwame-sized scandal or a boondoggled "investigation". It's March, I'm thinking boondoggle.
TJO March 09, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Everyone in Royal Oak should DEMAND an end to this, reinstate Mr Greening, and FIRE the people who caused this.
Ronald Wolf March 10, 2012 at 07:21 AM
Sounds like bitter politics is behind the way this is being handled by the board. In my experience and observations fifty one percent of any school system's problems lies with a contentious school board. If there is corruption at the level of a superintendent, or principal it is usually across the board and in most of those cases they either live outside the district next to a golf course, drive a Cadillac or two while taking yearly junkets to Hawaii as test scores fall and the dropout rate rises. I hope Mr.Greening is not protecting some subordinate's carelessness or incompetence, however, since Royal Oak HIgh is consistently strong academically under his oversight he should retain his position untill complicity or culpability is proven beyond doubt. Though I never met the man personally I would not hesitate to buy a used car from him based on trust he cultivated during his tenure.The travesty and real crime is in the way this is being handled. .
ROHS Mom March 10, 2012 at 12:48 PM
What happened to "Innocent until proven guilty"? This is nothing more than a "witch hunt". This investigation has gone on long enough...probably because they have no evidence of wrong doing and are too embarassed to admit they made a big mistake. Hang in there, Mike, the "good guy" will prevail!
drs March 11, 2012 at 03:33 PM
So what are the answers and why isn't the school board and superintendent more demanding to get to the conclusion of this. What the heck is going on????? I really think the school board needs to let the public know what is going on and demand to have a date to have all the evidence out and get this thing over with!!
TJO March 11, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Unless the school board and superintendent are hiding something.
Zoe Fields March 22, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I graduated from Royal Oak High School in 2011 and Michael Greening was always a fantastic principal. I interviewed him on three separate occasions regarding budget cuts for the Acorn and every single time, he was passionate, insightful, and hopeful for an improvement in the school's budget. Having spoken to him first hand about the school's dire financial situation and having seen how animated he gets when he talks about all the things the school could do for the students with extra money, I do not for a moment believe that he could have done ANYTHING to the school's funds.
Jennifer April 16, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I am appalled at the way the Royal Oak police department are treating this matter. It is obvious they do not know what the hell they are doing and if anyone should be suspended it is them. I understand the need to investigate but to embarrass a community and not have any evidence of criminal behavior is ridiculous.
john doe April 19, 2012 at 01:45 PM
This guy is a crook... stealing cash from student activities, and then transferring money from one activity account toanother to cover up the shortfall.. he is the bernie madoff of the school district... he stole $60k in 5 years
john doe April 19, 2012 at 01:45 PM
FYI the arrest warrant has been issued this morning

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