Claim Filed in Response to Former Hartland Principal's Lawsuit

Attorneys for Argentine Township and officer Arch Ravert file response on Wednesday.

Lawyers representing the Argentine Police Department filed a response this week to a lawsuit filed against them by a former Hartland principal in which they stated that the department had probable cause to investigate Tracey Sahouri and that any damages she received was due to her own negligence.

The response, filed on Wednesday, was due to a lawsuit filed by Sahouri, former principal at Creekside Elementary in January against Argentine Township and Argentine police officer Arch Ravert, alleging she was “falsely and maliciously and intentionally” accused of having committed a crime was responded to by attorneys, according to the Press & Argus.

In July, Sahouri and her husband were ticketed and accused of knowingly hosting a party where minors were drinking. The charges were dropped in December, but Sahouri alleges in her lawsuit that she suffered from injuries and damages as a “direct and proximate” result of officer Ravert’s alleged misconduct of accusing her of knowingly allowing minors to drink at her home, according to the Press & Argus story.

In October, Sahouri was also involved in an unrelated incident involving the state’s investigation into Michigan Educational Assessment Program test irregularities at Creekside Elementary School. Sahouri was cited for a breach of security which later investigations by the state and Superintendent Janet Sifferman and Assistant Superintendent Scott Van Epps, found to be true.

"We conducted our own investigation," Superintendent Janet Sifferman said. "And we too felt that there had been a breach of security regarding the MEAP and of course that's not acceptable."

In November, as a vice principal at Hartland High School and replaced by Lawrence Pumford. Sifferman told Patch the decision was in the best interest of the schools. 

In February, Patch reported that the Board of Education voted unanimously to consider . It was determined there is sufficient reason to consider it, the resolution said.

"I have made the recommendation to the board that I would like her to be placed as a classroom teacher next year, not as an administrator," Sifferman said.

"Until the allegations regarding the MEAP," she said. "She (Sahouri) had received favorable evaluations from me and the superintendent prior to me, we had no reason to think she was not a good administrator." 

Sahouri had 30 days to respond to the board's decision. The dealine for requesting a meeting with the board regarding her position was today, March 1. At the time of the interview, Sifferman still had not been contacted by Sahouri with her decision.

Sahouri is currently seeking damages that “far exceed $100,000,” and also alleges loss of wages and or/salary, loss of earning capacity, loss of job, emotional distress and mental anguish, extreme embarrassment and humiliation, and damage to reputation.

"There is no loss of wages," Sifferman said. "She maintains the wages she was paid prior to that and she has one more year on her administrative contract and if she is still employed with Hartland schools next year, she will receive the same wages she received this year."

hartland eagle March 03, 2012 at 01:39 PM
"In July, Sahouri and her husband were ticketed and accused of knowingly hosting a party where minors were drinking." It's not illegal to host a party where minors are drinking. The law requires the host to take action if it's discovered. That's it.
hartland eagle March 03, 2012 at 01:44 PM
As it should be. She works for us. Who would you propose she try to please?
sassyme March 03, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Hartland Eagle, regarding cheating on the MEAP this is a quote from LivingstonDaily.com "Amongst lying and cheating, a culture developed that was not positive," Sifferman said. "It was clear things were not right there." You can read the entire article by clicking below. It is very informative and clearly outlines what has led to Sahour's demise. http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview
sassyme March 03, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Go to the below site and it's clearly laid out. http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview Here is a snippet of what was said: "A Creekside Elementary School teacher said she saw the former principal, Tracey Sahouri, share a writing prompt from the Michigan Educational Assessment Program test before testing — a violation of state rules — according to a report conducted by the state. The fact-finding report by the Michigan Department of Education is based on a state investigation Oct. 4-5 into MEAP test irregularities at the Hartland Township school, and investigators found "extensive circumstantial and behavioral observations indicate a climate of: politics, bullying, manipulation, tension and duplicity." The report's summary states that test information was "all over the building," according to teacher testimony, and that investigators were "delayed and hampered in their investigation" by Sahouri. The report also highlights a "troubling school climate" and "politically charged environment, with insiders whom Sahouri favored," as well as several pieces of "egregious evidence" — including test booklets "spread out and arrayed on two tables" in Sahouri's office — and also outlines numerous "unusual behaviors" that concerned state investigators". Hartland Eagle your blind allegiance is making you look rather silly. Perhaps you need to "Let sleeping dogs lye."
sassyme March 03, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Hartland Eagle I would think an administrator would get along with everyone. Especially a principal where they are a visible role model to children.
sassyme March 03, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Hartland Eagle, go to: http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview Once there, on the left hand side click on the teacher interview notes which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. In these notes it's stated the teachers believe it was the districts former superintendent that contacted the State regarding the irregularities in the administration of the MEAP at Creekside.
hartland eagle March 03, 2012 at 05:04 PM
No, Sassy. Your vendetta is what looks a little silly. I could care less what the State thinks the climate in the school is. Creekside produces the best students in the district. By a longshot. The climate works. Parents, teachers and kids love her. Twenty five up them stood up at a board meeting and spoke on her behalf. Who spoke against her? No one. Not a single person. Not Sifferman, not a single board member. No one.
hartland eagle March 03, 2012 at 05:07 PM
It's not the role of a boss to get along with everyone. That's how it works in the real world. She produced the best results in the district. Period. Look at the numbers.
sassyme March 03, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Silly you Hartland Eagle, it isn't just what the state thinks the environment at Creekside was, it's noted in the investigation by Hartland's superintendent and assistant. And I quote "The district's own investigation, led by Superintendent Janet Sifferman and Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Student Services Scott VanEpps, involved visits to the school and interviews on two separate dates in mid-October, revealing what Sifferman called an "unbalanced leadership" at Creekside. "Amongst lying and cheating, a culture developed that was not positive," Sifferman said. "It was clear things were not right there." Regarding Creekside doing well on past MEAPS it's probably due to the ongoing cheating on the MEAPS. And I quote "Another unidentified teacher said, "In past years (Tracey Sahouri) has flipped open a MEAP book in front of me," and admitted to telling another teacher to lie about it to investigators. The unnamed teacher said he or she was allowed to flip through test books when the principal was around, and said the individual who leaked the writing prompt "had to have been" Sahouri." Again, you can read it for yourself; see below. In general the supporters are looking very silly due to their claims of axes to grind, etc., How can everyone that doesn't support Sahouri or report it as news have a vendetta? http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview
hartland eagle March 03, 2012 at 07:51 PM
So, Sifferman and Van Epps missed this supposedly caustic environment in their glowing reviews of Sahouri each year? Perhaps they should be thrown out as well, since they paid Sahouri upwards of $1 million during her 15 year career. Amazing how things got so "off balance" in just the span of a couple of months. These comments you quote, by the way, were made by a person that was involved in a shakeup of 3rd and 4th grade teaching assignments. You neglected to mention that part. These are the kinds of decisions that a leader has to make to that are unpopular with teachers, but ultimately for the benefit of our children. You neglect to mention also that the notes are full of teachers asking Sahouri about the test. Perhaps why 4 of them are on disciplinary action now, a fact Patch hasn't reported on. And I'm not talking about previous years MEAP. I'm talking about this year. Right now. With an all new test and writing prompt, with state stormtroopers in the classrooms. Creekside results are best in district. One of the other elementary schools in the district has almost 50% more 4th graders that aren't proficient or better in math, 10% more that aren't proficient or better in reading, and 58% more in writing. And the board wants to throw HER out. It's obviously personal when results like that are ignored. Mediocrity is not only tolerated in Hartland - exceptionalism is rooted out and destroyed. Good luck with that.
sassyme March 03, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Silly one, it appears Ms. Sahouri knew who to be friends/friendly with. If the perception was that she was friends with Sifferman, and this was thrown up in the teachers faces, do you honestly believe they were going to complain about Sahouri to Sifferman. After all the teachers had seen the abuse of power which led to plenty of good teachers leaving Creekside. Oh silly, silly Hartland Eagle the "shakeup" was only ONE issue mentioned by the teachers that were interviewed. Did you miss the part in the interview where one teacher stated she was "afraid" of Sahouri, and another teacher mentioned Sahouri was "vindictive". Most of the blackened areas are names of teachers; if you are going to address the teacher interviews you shouldn't just pick one point in an attempt to support your sagging view. You also fail to mention that the one teacher who asked about questions on the MEAP did so b/c in the past it was past practice to be provided that info. It also appears that the 4 on disciplinary action acted as they did per the direct or indirect instruction of their principal. I am suprised at your belief that a single person causes children to excel in school. First there is the curriculum director who is responsible for the appropriate curriculum. Then there are the parents and teachers who work with their child or student to ensure their success. How you can attribute Creekside student success to one person is just plain silly!
hartland eagle March 03, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Your post is bordering on a stream of consciousness rant. Perhaps you're one of the displaced teachers from Creekside, and now at Round, where 68% of the 4th graders aren't proficient in writing. I suspect you are a teacher in the district, since you claim to know information about the disciplined teachers that hasn't been reported in the press. Or, you're just spreading misinformation, which would be par for the course. The "plenty of good teachers" that left Creekside have resulted in increased test scores. Apparently you're not as good a judge of what a "good teacher" is as Sahouri was. Sahouri selected and kept staff at Creekside that excel. Creekside has the same curriculum as the other schools, so that has zero impact on the difference in the test scores. She made moves that were unpopular with staff, in the best interest of students. Great. News flash - that's what an effective leader does. It's ridiculous to lose such an obviously effective administrator over an issue so trivial as this. 4 teachers were implicated in this. Why aren't their names being released? Patch should file a FOIA request and find out. Parents have a right to know if their kids teacher has been implicated in some wrongdoing. Again, if this caustic climate existed at Creekside, where Sifferman all this time? She wrote glowing reviews of Sahouri. What are we paying her $125k plus a year for? How could this being going on and she be so in the dark?
sassyme March 04, 2012 at 02:54 AM
Poor silly, silly Hartland Eagle, no I am not a "displaced" teacher. LOL An effective leader bullies and intimidates staff? READ the notes from the teachers interviews. http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview Again my experience as a parent is it's the parent, teacher, and curriculum that ensures a students success. It's not cheating on MEAP's or any other test! Oh silly one, your "effective leader" was described as "vindictive" someone to be feared, who liked to have power over teachers, could make your life miserable, "her vision doesn't give her the ability to help teachers grow", etc., Again, read it in the teachers interview; it's all there. http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview The 4 teachers acted as they were instructed by the "effective" administrator. They were wrong and are rightfully being disciplined. From the above mentioned article: "You have to have a moral compass to teach," Sifferman said, explaining the disciplinary action. Sifferman said she was particularly troubled because a few teachers at the school were just starting their careers. "Our young teachers were set up in a culture where corners were cut," Sifferman said. "We don't cut corners." If you were afraid of losing your job, how much would you complain?
Momof4 March 04, 2012 at 04:52 AM
LOL.... "sassyme" has been on here all day! Poor silly, silly "sassyme" get a life!
sassyme March 04, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Hee, hee mom of 4. I guess you didn't notice silly Hartland Eagles 8 posts from today. Silly, silly you :)
hartland eagle March 04, 2012 at 01:12 PM
You forgot about the 34 year veteran teacher - you know, the one that wasn't disgruntled - that had the guts to stand up at the board meeting and directly challenge the superintendent's assessment of Sahouri. He called her a role model. It's just amazing to me that this vision and culture wasn't a problem at all for the administration until this year. If you believe such a culture was allowed to exist for over 10 years, the oversight provided by Sifferman and staff is apparently totally inadequate. I expect you'll be up at the next board meeting to call for their removal. Of course, you won't be there, preferring instead to post anonymously on the internet. I'll take whatever Sahouri was doing with the staff over what the other elementaries are doing - in a heartbeat, every time. They may like their boss, but they produce 50% more 4th graders that aren't proficient or better in math, 10% more that aren't proficient or better in reading, and 58% more that aren't proficient or better in writing. Hopefully your child isn't one of that's a product of one of the ineffective leaders, and can't read or write.
sassyme March 04, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Hartland Eagle, once again I refer you to the interview notes where multiple teachers give their negative assessment of the situation at Creekside; see below. http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview Further, once the superintendent b/c aware of the problem action was taken. How could she take action if she didn't know? DUH! In addition you post "anonymously" so why shouldn't I? Also, I never called for Sahouri to be terminated, or reassigned; I didn't have to as she has caused her own demise. Regarding you stats of how one elementary did better then another, once again, it's the curriculum, the parents, teachers, etc., not a single principal that ensures success. Further, has it occurred to you if there was cheating on the MEAP's that cheating on other achievement tests also occurred? Also, thanks for your concern for my children; they are adults and managing quite well :) Finally regarding your demands that Patch obtain the names of the 4 teachers that were disciplined for following the leader, you can request this info yourself. All you do is type up a request and submit it to the Admin building. They have 30 days to respond and you will have to pay a small fee. HOWEVER, I do believe that personnel actions are not privy to FOIA. At this point I don't believe I can help you any further; it sounds like this is a very bitter pill for you swallow.
sassyme March 07, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Actually Creeker it was momof4 who wrote I needed to "get a life". She must be Hartland Eagle's wife b/c that's the only reason she failed to notice the 9 posts he has written. Regarding the "whole story", I know what has been written in the media (by two different outlets) and what was obtained under FOIA. You obviously read the Patch and here's the site to the other paper: http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview Finally, I REALLY am not a teacher and to be honest I wouldn't want to teach children. It's sad that you and the other Sahouri supporters have to keep reaching for something that just doesn't exist. It's also a bitter pill for you and the sooner you start swallowing, the sooner you'll get over this. Oh, and though I'm not a puppy, I absolutely LOVE them so.....bark, bark, woof, woof! Here's a puppy kiss (aka lick) coming your way. Maybe it'll cheer you up :)
hartland eagle March 07, 2012 at 10:29 PM
"It's sad that you and the other Sahouri supporters have to keep reaching for something that just doesn't exist." Really. Which is why 25 parents, teachers, and students came to the board meeting, stood up, and supported Sahouri? Because we're reaching for something that didn't exist? She made a difference in people's lives, which is why people were compelled to drop everything and stand up for her. What's sad is that people that make anonymous tips and internet posts are going to cost the district a very effective administrator, and end the career of a woman who has been a very positive influence on literally thousands of children in this community. Surely the Superintendent could find some way to address the issues short of firing her, if she wanted to.
Courtney March 08, 2012 at 03:56 AM
...so Sifferman concured with the allegations against Sahouri in regard to the MEAP. Nothing of consequence has truly happened. Also, she wishes to receive compensation for her "struggles". This is ridiculous. Do any of you have better, more constructive things to do? Either way we'll still keep paying her outrageous amounts of money. All of you will still feud regardless. Hartland Patch is the Facebook for Adults. Super.
Hartland tax payer March 14, 2012 at 06:47 PM
What happens with Sahouri happens but the concern really needs to be with the leadership of the district. It is Jan Sifferman's job to evaluate her administrators and she does this yearly.....over the past years, Sifferman has given Sahouri EXCELLENT reviews...if the culture was so bad Creekside, where has Sifferman been? Where is her responsibility in this? Sifferman needs to go...time for change
sassyme March 14, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I don't know Ms. Sifferman but from what I've read Ms. Sifferman took action once she became aware of the problem and that I believe was this past Oct. You can read more here in Patch or at: http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/202190318/Climate-Hartland-s-Creekside-school-troubling-downloads-?odyssey=mod|mostview
NotLazy March 15, 2012 at 11:35 AM
My head hurts...
Hartland tax payer March 15, 2012 at 07:07 PM
In the fall Ms. Sifferman stated that Mrs. Sahouri was an excellent administrator with a fantastic record.....a few months after that Ms. Sifferman states that Mrs. Sahouri is a "bully" and needs to be removed. I am not debating for or against Mrs. Sahouri but am left with the simple question - What has been Jan Sifferman's roll in all this? Jan is Mrs. Sahouri's direct supervisor and it is her responsibility to evaluate Mrs. Sahouri.....an atmosphere that is now being describe does not just happen over night...if in fact this was the case at Creekside, than how come Ms. Sifferman was not aware - it is her job and it is what I as a tax payer expect her to do well. She is a superintendent of a very small district and compensated very nicely for the job she does. If she has mis-evaluated Mrs. Sahouri for the past 10 years.......I am now left questioning Mrs. Sifferman's ability to evaluate anything. Jan Sifferman needs to be held responsible for this too.... Bottom line, when this does go to court, and I believe Mrs. Sahouri will sue the district, she will win because ALL of her evaluations, even one as most recent as July 2011 were written by Mrs. Sifferman and in these evaluations, she grave nothing but positive feedback..... Mrs. Sifferman should be held accountable too. The Hartland School Board evaluates Mrs. Sifferman and it now their job to address this issue. It is our jobs as citizens of this district to talk to the school board about this matter - I know I will....
sassyme March 16, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Sounds like an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, regarding holding Mrs. Sifferman accountable. If she didn't know there was a problem why wouldn't she give Sahouri a good eval? When Sifferman discovered a problem, she took care of it. Said, done, and way over.
Hartland tax payer March 20, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Accountability needs to start at the top
Crystalball March 24, 2012 at 01:48 AM
Hey Patch readers... what needs to be followed up on is how many calls our former superintendant made to the current superintendant, as well as to the current #rd grade/former 4th grade teacher(Mrs. Woodbury). Isn't it true that Mr. Carlselli called Sifferman in August to get rid of Sahouri, because her pending case would bring DIRT to our 'precious' district. What the most pathetic part is...Caroselli a FORMER super, can still control this district when he's been out of office approx 8 yrs now!!! That's like having Clinton tell Obama what to do!
Crystalball March 24, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Oh yeah a side note... Caroselli hired Woodbury and Sifferman hired Gutteridge and if not aware - their families are neighbors of 30 + yrs!!! Both Caroselli and Sifferman hired these 2 and the principles had no say in these hires, - sounds alittle fishy. Board members your positions are above Sifferman so why are you being controlled by her and Caroselli: what are you afraid of.. they can't take your job away but you can take hers away(hint hint).
Crystalball March 24, 2012 at 01:57 AM
You board members really need to do some investigation work on your own, especially since you are above the superintendant. You have a legal responsibility!!!! So.. why haven't you asked questions. Why are you following Sifferman's opinion. Not one of you took advantage of your position and asked Mrs. Sahouri any questions at the last meeting. Instead you all kept your mouths shut and let her run the show. WHO IS ULTIMATELY IN CHARGE HERE??????
sassyme March 24, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Yawn, bigger Yawn.......zzzzzzzzzzz.........boring!


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