'Save Greening': Community Expresses Support for Embattled Royal Oak High School Principal

As word spreads of Michael Greening's paid administrative leave and school funds investigation, students and parents comment on administrator's good character and hope it's just a misunderstanding.

Members of the Royal Oak High School and broader communities are expressing their support for over a student activities fund.

Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin sent a letter to the school's roughly 1,500 students and their families Thursday morning saying Greening – a longtime Royal Oak resident and educator – had been placed on paid administrative leave "due to the possibility of financial irregularities in student activities funds."

The school district become aware of information that led it to look at the fund, which is comprised of money from the school's organizations and activities, Lewis-Lakin said. "Athletic funds is a separate fund," the superintendent said.  

A police report was filed and an investigation is in its beginning stages, Royal Oak Police Lt. Thomas Goad confirmed Thursday.

Greening, who has been with the school district as a teacher and administrator for about 15 years, the last five as ROHS principal, was placed on leave Dec. 16, the last day of school before the holiday break. Greening has not returned calls for comment.

Marty Cardamone, a member of the Board of Education and Royal Oak High School parent, said he and other board members could not comment on matters involving students or school district personnel.

Lewis-Lakin said Jim Moll will serve as the interim principal, effective Tuesday, when school resumes after the Christmas break. Moll retired in June after working 38 years in the Birmingham Public Schools district and will be introduced to the ROHS community at a reception at the school Tuesday evening.

Community reacts

Many members of the community said they were saddened and shocked by the news and are speaking out to show their support for the school leader. A Save Greening page even popped up on Facebook on Thursday night.

Royal Oak High School PTSA President Janet Norling was surprised by the news Thursday, saying of Greening: "He's always been so supportive and pro-active in the PTSA."

On Royal Oak Patch's Facebook page, a few people voiced a “wait and see” attitude, but the majority expressed their support for Greening, calling him a “good man” and  hoping the investigation amounts nothing more than a "misunderstanding." Comments on the original report quickly added up, too, with students and longtime community members expressing disbelief and support. 

Story comments:

  • Olivia Adams: "As a graduate of ROHS and a former class officer, I got to know Mr. Greening very well last year. He was always helpful, dedicated and caring. I always felt lucky that I got to have a principal that saw the students as actual people, not just dumb high schoolers. ... Seeing students gossip about this ordeal on Facebook and Twitter all morning made me extremely upset...mainly because many people, including myself, don't know all the information regarding this situation besides what was sent home to them or what's available online. Any student that knows Mr. Greening knows how great he is, and I really hope this is all a big misunderstanding."
  • J. Bastian: "I have known Mr. Greening for almost 40 years. He has proven over time that he cares about the students, respects the parents and is willing to work through administrative challenges. It is sad to think that people are so quick to throw a good man under the bus without having a complete picture of the situation. Keep the faith Mike!"
  • Cal Hayhow: "There is more going on than the authorities are telling."
  • john brilla: "Mike, you have my support as I hold your integrity and moral character in the highest regard. This Administration had better be right about this. If not, you have smeared the reputation of a fine man!!"

From Facebook:

  • Rebecca Kassab Najor: "I find this very difficult to believe. Mr. Greening is a good man."
  • Nancy Nacu Wistow: "Hope it is some misunderstanding!"
  • Tomasz Ochocki: "Totally shocked and saddened by this."
  • Deb Richardson-Shaeff: "He's innocent until proven otherwise...one can hope this is a misunderstanding and all will be made right. Don't understand the reason for the district's publicity of his paid leave. Let's remember he has children at this School! I'm sure they won't fair well returning on the 3rd."
  • Mike Vieregge: "I too have known Mike for many decades and agree he is a good man. Hopefully just a misunderstanding."
  • Kelly Walters Geyer: "As a Royal Oak community member, I think it is important to remember a couple things. 1) Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 2) The responsibility of the superintendent is to ensure the well being of the students at ROHS and to make sure that they are provided "intreim leadership" until Mr Greening's future is decided either by a court of law or by the Royal Oak school board. 3) This is a situation that I am sure no one wanted to be in. I have known and worked with Mike Greening since his appointment at ROHS. I know of his love and dedication to his profession, his school and his family and will pray for all involved."
  • Angela Allen Clemence: "Everyone should make sure that this issue does not cause people to fight with one another regarding whether or not Mr. Greening has done something wrong. The truth is that none of us knows for sure so we should just let this 'play out' and don't let this turn one person against another. I know we all want the best for ROHS and our community."

From Twitter:

  • Angie Rush: "I had six ROHS students at my house tonight and they all hope it's a mistake, they all love Mr. Greening."
  • Olivia Najor: "Mr. Greening always had his students' best interest at heart. No matter what, he fought for us. He is more than just a principal."
  • Brad Ellison: "I had Mr. Greening as a teacher back in '98-'99. Great teacher, great guy. I hope this turns out to be false."
Diane W Drane December 30, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Yes hope it is just a misunderstanding.
Carme December 31, 2011 at 04:46 PM
The investigation will go through his life with a fine tooth comb the truth will come out in the end. Numbers don't lie.
Erich Von Zipper January 03, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Smelling like a witch hunt.
Eric Stein February 04, 2012 at 01:23 AM
Witch hunt indeed


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