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Garden City schools superintendent under fire for remarks

“We do not want to be the first predominately white community that loses it’s school district,” said Dr. Michelle Cline, superintendent of Garden City schools.

It was an important school district meeting, a conversation about dollars, cents and concessions with Cline.

But no one expected her comments, which caused some teachers to get up and leave early.

Another teacher asked Cline if she wanted to rephrase her comments, but she stood her ground and said they are part of a larger point she was trying to make.

Others wonder if her comments were appropriate.

“It would be unfortunate if we are the first white school district – and they’re going to take one – I hope it’s not going to be us,” Cline said during the meeting. “We do not want to be the first predominately white community that loses it’s school district and we have to work together.”

“I know you don’t like it, but it’s unfortunately a fact.”

Cline was not mincing words and knew exactly what she was saying.

Julie Naughton, a teacher at Garden City High School, says the fact Cline made those comments on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was not lost on them.

But first, the back story

Garden City schools is in the red and the state just rejected its plan to cut costs.

So to avoid an emergency manager or worse, being dissolved, more concessions need to be made and that is not sitting well with school employees.

So about those remarks.

“Right now all the school districts that they have taken down have been predominately black communities,” Cline said.

The district did send a statement from Cline saying:

“It doesn’t seem anybody is aware of what’s happening. There is apathy and I wonder if that’s because the districts that have gone down are predominantly black. I wondered if the staff thought that wouldn’t happen because Garden City is predominantly white.

“Nobody seems to care about predominantly black schools. The people in the audience didn’t seem to believe we could go under. That is why I said what I said.”

Vandewater said that race should not have been included in the dialogue.

“I don’t want to see another public school fail,” Vandewater said. “Every child in this state – race, gender aside – deserves a quality education and I don’t see why you had to bring race into it at all.”

So did Cline cross the line?

Jen Vandewater is on the Garden City school board was asked what should the district’s response be to Cline’s comments.

“I don’t know if I as an individual can answer that,” Jen Vandewater said. “The school board as a whole needs to come together. That’s a topic for our next school board meeting or a meeting earlier than that, but that is a discussion we will certainly be taking up.”

The big issue at Garden City public schools is if it can cut costs to avoid being dissolved.

Many teachers are concerned how the district will be viewed by other communities.

They told FOX 2 they want to let others know that the district – which although is predominately white – is also diverse and that Cline’s comments are not reflective of the people who work in the district.

Suburban Detroit woman working for Chrysler gets invitation to State of the Union address

A Detroit-area woman is getting a prime viewing spot for President Barack Obama‘s State of the Union address near first lady Michelle Obama.

Tiairris Woodward of Warren is among special guests the White House says it invited to Tuesday night’s speech.

The White House says Woodward started a second job working on Chrysler’s assembly line in 2010 to help support herself and three children, including one with special needs.

She eventually began working only for Chrysler and after a year saved enough money to buy a car and rent a new apartment. The company’s tuition assistance program is aiding the 43-year-old’s pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in business management.

The White House says her story is possible due to the comeback of Detroit and the U.S. auto industry.

Search intensifies for parents of dead baby found in recycling center

Police are still tracking down the parents of a newborn baby boy found dead in a Roseville Recycling center last week.

Berlin says his investigators are searching tirelessly for the parents of the boy, believed to have been born at Christmas and found frozen at ReCommunity Roseville Wednesday.

It is believed the baby was born alive.

It was then wrapped in a black shirt and thrown away. When workers at ReCommunity found the baby, they thought he was a doll.

Part of the problem for investigators is that the recycling center accepts materials from half of the state.

And, the chief says, based on the mail found with the child, they are concentrating on northern lower michigan down through Midland, possibly Arenac or Ingham counties.

“Anybody that may have known somebody that had been pregnant – full term pregnancy – full nine months – up to around December 25th and gave birth,” Berlin said. “And they don’t know the whereabouts of that child, we’d really like them to call us.”

Police asking everyone to share this story with people you know in that area. As for the baby, investigators are now making arrangements for a proper burial.

Berlin wanted to remind mothers in distress the Safe Haven Law allows you to leave a newborn up to three days old at a hospital, police station, fire station or an on-duty emergency service provider.

“It’s impacted everyone – everyone is just kind of totally taken aback,” Berlin said. “Twenty-year veterans are just shaken to the core, so is the community. This just doesn’t happen here – nor should it ever happen anywhere. That’s why we’re working so hard to find out who did this.”

Police still looking to identify dead woman found beaten and dumped in Dearborn Heights

At 1 a.m. Monday Dearborn Heights police respond to a 911 call of a body dumped on the side of the road near a field at John Daly and Powers.

Officers at the scene discovered a black woman in her mid-40s murdered – beaten so bad she was unrecognizable – dumped near the Inkster border.

The body wrapped in blankets – the victim so badly beaten it could be difficult to determine who she is.

Police worked on that using fingerprints and by 11 a.m. had identified their victim – a 46-year-old woman.

Investigators here say the fingerprints match a woman who had been arrested in the past here in the Inkster area but they won’t say what she was arrested for – only that the addresses she gave – aren’t matching up.

“We’ve checked some locations through the database and those locations have been empty fields or abandoned homes,” said Dearborn Height Police Chief Lee Gavin.

Gavin telling Fox 2 they are working on locating next of kin, the crime scene and her killer.

As for those who live in the neighborhood, they say it is unsettling news.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dearborn Heights police at (313) 277-6770.

Woman charged in carjacking, accused of running down man, 76

A 76-year-old man was carjacked and fatally run over in Waterford Township Sunday.

The woman suspected in the crime is in custody but the investigation for police continues.

Ruth Pozdol, 38, is in jail awaiting charges in the death of Clifford Van Haywald a man twice her age.

Waterford police arrested Pozdol after she was identified as the suspect who stole the red Chevrolet truck, owned by Van Haywald.

Police say she ran him over as she fled the parking lot of a Burger King in Waterford.

“She’s in big trouble, no question,” said Lt. Todd Hasselbach of Waterford police. “This is out of character for her to go from petty property crimes to violence. Violence, this is a new one for her.”

Detroit recovered Van Haywald’s truck Monday. It was found on Detroit’s west side burned out.

His family is mourning the senselessness of his death.

Pozdohl, if convicted, is facing life in prison.

Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Digital Producer of The Morning Heat and Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit

Keep up with the Morning Heat on Instagram and Twitter at @hiphopdetroit

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