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Former Hartland Principal Suing School District

Tracey Sahouri has filed a lawsuit against Hartland Schools.

Former principal Tracey Sahouri filed a lawsuit against Hartland Schools in the Genesee County Circuit Court seeking damages that “far exceed $100,000,” according to a report from the Press & Argus.

On March 26, the Hartland school board for the non-renewal of Sahouri’s administrative contract. Sahouri, who is currently a vice-principal at Hartland High School, was transferred in November after allegations that she  during her time at  

In the lawsuit, which was filed on April 9, Sahouri is suing the school district for slander and libel, invasion of privacy and gross negligence and claiming the district "spoon-fed" information to the press with a "reckless disregard of the truth,” according to the Press & Argus. The suit also alleges that the school system violated the Whistleblower Protection Act by not renewing her administrative contract.

A press release by superintendent Janet Sifferman released on Monday addressed Sahouri's lawsuit by saying:

"It appears this lawsuit is in response to the nonrenewal of Ms. Sahouri's administrative contract," the statement reads. "It is unfortunate that it has come to this. On the advice of the district's attorney, the district has followed the required procedures necessary, as outlined by the state of Michigan, for a nonrenewal of an administrative contract."

During the March 26 school board meeting, school board president Kevin Kaszyca explained that the motives behind the school board’s decision to not re-new Sahouri’s contract were based on results from the MEAP test investigation that was conducted by Superintendent Janet Sifferman and Assistant Superintendent Scott Van Epps and were unrelated to the underage drinking allegations that Sahouri faced last summer. Charges in that case were dropped in December.

“I also want to clarify for any of you that have read the state report and our own summary of our investigation, that this is not ... just about opening some test pamphlets and having them in an unsecured room," Kaszyca said.

"Our administrators are held to the highest standard," Kaszyca continued. "Leadership, trust, honesty, you cannot be an administrator in this district if you do not have those qualities. This board has never shied away from tough decisions."

Over the past months, Patch readers have either vocalized their support or non-support for Sahouri on the comment section and when news of Sahouri’s lawsuit was posted in Hartland Patch’s Facebook page yesterday, several readers commented on the latest development.

“Unbelievable,” Patch reader Kathleen Helppi wrote. “My thought is if she truly wanted to do what's right for students she'd let it rest and let the administration do their job not spend their time on this matter any longer.”

Hartland parent Michele Gonzalez however, disagreed with the board’s decision of non-renewal leaving this comment on the March 27 story.

“Even IF Ms. Sahouri did handle the test improperly, termination of her position is an EXTREME disciplinary action and completely out of line,” Gonzalez wrote. “Maybe a written reprimand would be the most that I would see in this situation. To have her removed was a vengeful action from Sifferman. Sifferman used her political talents to gain what she wanted... Sahouri gone.”

Sahouri is also involved in another lawsuit involving the Argentine Township and Police Officer Arch Ravert which she filed in January which is related to the underage drinking charges from this past summer.

During the 2012-2013 school year, Sahouri will be placed as a teacher within Hartland Schools and maintain her current salary until the end of her contract in 2013.

"But my love will still remain with the children," Sahouri said after the March 26 vote. "I'll continue to be an assistant principal at the high school until the end of the year and give it my all."

stephanie pytlowanyj April 23, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Stating a post appears to NOT have been written by a student, let alone a 4.0 student is a personal attack??? Personal attacks is what the Sahouri supporters have consistently done. And when their's becomes a sinking ship they try to align their posts with those that don't support Sahouri. Attorneys do this all the time in court to confuse the issue. It's very clear what the issue is: the school district accepted that Ms. Sahouri was innocent in the underage drinking issue. The school district determined Ms. Sahour conducted herself, during the MEAP testing, in a manner that was unfitting of a principal. Therefor it's not a matter of whose spell checks or not. However, their does appear to be an issue with integrity when posting.
Michele Gonzalez April 23, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Your post to AAP did seem to be a personal attack to me. Sorry you don't agree.
stephanie pytlowanyj April 23, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Michele Gonzalez, that is your opinion, and not my truth nor my intent. If you will notice in Anonymous Awesome Person first post, and when I thought it was a student posting, I supported her/his gesture of kindness. However, when a subsequent post did not appear to be written by them, again, I questioned if it was a post by a student, and it wasn't just based upon spelling errors. Further, if you read ALL of my posts I have NEVER condemned Ms. Sahouri (nor her supporters) I have stated (based upon what I have read in the State report, schools report, etc.,) what the issue is. After all you have accepted that from Jordan Genso so why not from me? I suspect it's b/c you don't agree with my restatement of the facts and facts which I have read in the State's report, school reports, and the media (such as Ms Sifferman stating she did an investigation and found no wrong doing by Ms. Sahouri in the underage drinking issue). Personal attacks are unnecessary. I would think we could all be adults and agree to disagree.
Just Watching April 23, 2012 at 03:38 PM
After watching all the comments on this topic I really hope the Patch goes the same route as the Livingston County Press and allows comments only linked to established Facebook accounts. Once the Press did this all the "personal" comments went away.
Jordan Genso April 23, 2012 at 04:14 PM
In regards to the P&A's new system, I don't know if you've seen the comments from "Hitt Mann" and some other obvious pseudonyms that still go the personal route, but even the Facebook commenting doesn't take care of "all" the 'personal' comments. There's a James Jonas on there now who is worse than anyone here when it comes to insult baiting. With that said, it's still better over there than it was prior to the switch, but that site started out much worse than the Patch community currently is. Overall, I'm not aware of a site that has both conservative and progressive commenters where the discussion is more cordial than here. Obviously there is room for improvement here, and some commenters here stand out for their bad behavior, but at least they usually appear to be the exception. I don't think Facebook commenting would be the best solution. I think stronger moderation is a better option. And not just moderators that delete bad comments, but those that also play the position of unbiased referee, questioning those who are making statements from either side, and calling out all unwarranted personal attacks as unacceptable.
Just Watching April 23, 2012 at 04:20 PM
Agreed Jordan, the change did take care of quite bit of it. Unfortunately, just like in our political system the discussion doesn't stay objective or civil.
Anonymous Awesome person April 23, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Oh, please don't worry or feel bad for me, Michelle, she doesn't scare me one bit. Sure, she thinks that she is doing not the wrong thing, and I really in truly deep deep down think tht she means it, but do we really have to do all of this stuff?? All the bad comments and all of the negatives, I can list many people on thi website and friends and even myself that have said a bad comment even if it was not online. But then you know what my mom makes me do? She makes me say 5 things that I agree with tht that person or like about that person. Why don't we do that here? Read the article about starting a chain reaction. It could seriously change Hartland. And the patch.
Elizabeth Howarth April 24, 2012 at 02:47 AM
If Ms, Sifferman or whatever she is called the Superindntdent, her obligation is to oversee all functions of the schools, not just one. How many parents does she know about that have been hurt, bullied, harasesed, lied too, discriminated against the teachers, been physically abused at the schools? When I asked her personally she nothing about anything. Hmmmmm I thought we elected her to be the director of all the schools and keep them safe???? Seems to me she has done a great job!!!!!
stephanie pytlowanyj April 24, 2012 at 03:48 AM
Sometimes a certified letter is more effective than verbal communication if the issue is a serious one.
Destiny April 09, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Tracey Sahouri is the most wonderful human being I have ever met. You guys have nothing better to do in your lives than talk horribly about this as if you actually know who you're talking about. She is compassionate about her students and the work she does. She has morals. And you had to second guess that you obviously don't know what you're talking about.
Crystalball April 23, 2013 at 01:03 PM
For those of you who are still stuck on the drinking issue, lets clarify something. When police asked Mr. Sahouri if he was aware that drinking was happening, he responded, "yes". Of course he did. He is the one that called the police to assist with the young lady who showed up intoxicated. He is the one who carried her to safety and cleaned the vomit out of her mouth. He is the one who called her parents and made sure she was well taken care of. There were no MIPs given that evening or any misconduct investigated. Furthermore, the sahouris were found innocent on the entire drinking incident in the court of law.
Crystalball April 23, 2013 at 01:05 PM
As far as the MEAP investigation, the entire district unwrapped the MEAP tests early. This is against the MEAP rules therefore the whole district was in error. Why not focus on just putting one administrator and school down, especially since she was previously falsely accused of a drinking incident. Please remember, the call to the Michigan Department of Education was anonymous. So then Ms. Sahouri is removed from Creekside and placed at the HS. In May, 10 days before seniors were out she was escorted out of the HS. I have a student at the HS and this was a total disruption. Did you know...she turned in to authorities a threat that was writtne on the bathroom wall but dismissed by other administrators? Did you also know that she had to intervene at prom, because she was on duty as an administrator, with a student that was intoxicated that happened to be a board member's child. She wanted policy to be fair and to be followed. Police were not called ot the scene, but they are called at HHS if a student is suspected to be under the influence. Does this make sense to anyone? Two approximately 4 days after the prom, Ms. Sahouri, once again, was told she was being placed on administrative leave. She was given no notice and was passionate about the students at the HS, just as she was at Creekside.
Crystalball April 23, 2013 at 01:05 PM
Jordan, your comments have been well taken and I hope this information is helpful in filling in the blanks. By the way, she is now running a virtual school which she has app. 40 students. It is refered to as Hartland Virtual Academy. She is doing awesome and once again, her students appreciate and know how much she cares. Hartland Schools have failed to mention REALLY what her job is to the press. This is a new program was initiated this year and ...yes....Ms. Sahouri is running it!!
sassyme April 26, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Crystalball, from a post above: "Archives of the Livingston Daily Press and Argus Superintendent recommends review of Sahouri's contract Livingston County Daily Press & Argus - Howell, Mich. Author: Frank Konkel Date: Feb 13, 2012 Start Page: n/a Section: FRONTPAGE Text Word Count: 233 Abstract (Document Summary) The district spells out several reasons for the consideration in its agenda packet, including "misconduct regarding the administration of the MEAP test," "improperly" pressuring or influencing staff and being "untruthful during the investigation" conducted by the district."
sassyme April 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM
She may be too embarrassed to show her face in Hartland schools if she does take $500,000 from the kids. So her virtual school is an alternate that works for HER.
hartland eagle April 26, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Why would she be embarrassed? The board's behavior is what's going to cost the district money.
Crystalball April 27, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Once again, showing your ignorance to facts. First off, why would she face any embarrassment when she has only served students of all ages in positive ways? Second, do you really think I virtual teacher would not have any FaceTime with students? Staff? Parents? Third, why would she settle for such a ridiculous amount? Next time you comment, at least try to do some research so you can report facts.
sassyme April 27, 2013 at 02:33 PM
It's obvious you are a friend of hers due to the info you have, so that bias is duly noted. First, for someone that claims to love her students, and for being an administrator she is fully aware of the impact her lawsuit has, financially, upon the district. Second, I am taking on-line classes (that's what they are called in the real world) for an advanced degree and their are numerous instructors I have never met nor spoken with. Third, and as I predicted, this case will never go to court and is instead settling out of court. This is the nature of the beast of the legal system. Finally regarding the "ridiculous amount" the involved parties are settling for, the school is getting a deal. Between her wage and benefits as an administrator the school would be settling for about 4 year's worth of her employment. The downside is the school's insurance premiums are probably going to go up. Regarding her, the attorney will take 1/3, and she will continue to have this cloud over her head. She would have done better to quietly go away, and start anew elsewhere. But I would expect that in her settlement clause her lawyer will ask for a neutral reference for her when she does leave. All in all, the lawsuit just seems to be vindictive.
Lonnie Kazer May 03, 2013 at 01:53 PM
Wow. It seems like pytlowanyj has become a judge and jury of everyone that doesn't agree with her- even the students that post here.
Lonnie Kazer May 03, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Salem witch trial comes to mind. Kids can be sneaky- once upon a time I was a teen. Give her a break!
stephanie pytlowanyj May 03, 2013 at 03:09 PM
LOL, looks like you have selective reading Lonnie.
Anonymous Awesome person May 03, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Let me tell you a little story... Once upon a time a young 11 year old girl had an assembly when she was in school... It talked about a girl who died in the columbine shooting and how she was asked if she believed in god... She said yes and was shot... So this girl decided she would try to make a difference in honor of Rachel joy Scott... She tried to talk about her principal being kind and loving and caring... She was then hurt when it still went on... Some people chose sides... The young girls or the other side... Somebody on the other side had said in a year this will all blow over... Yet, she is still writing?? Now in the present the youn girl is more mature and still cares for her once principal and defending her as well as making a difference... You see, there's this thing called a chain reaction... For example I might say mrs. Sahouri was very loving and kind and then somebody else might see an argument on another Article an make a difference too! Then I might invite everybody to come to the river community church theriveron59.com and visit!! Casual clothes and it is very laid back... PLEASE CONSIDER IT or just try 5 times!!! Now it's all up to you guys... What's the end of the story going to be??
stephanie pytlowanyj May 04, 2013 at 01:31 AM
This post makes no sense; are you recruiting for your church? If so, that has nothing to do with anything. Promoting prayers for all those that are involved does seem like a good idea but you certainly don't have to go to your church to pray.
Anonymous Awesome person May 04, 2013 at 03:50 PM
No... I just thought that people who go on and on and who can even have the mind to think that it's okay and right to act so mean towards a woman need some guidance in their life... And I never said ANYTHING about praying??? You think that church is for praying? No... The river gives you guidance to live the life of god...
stephanie pytlowanyj May 04, 2013 at 04:51 PM
Fact: I'm not the one going on and on and on and on; it's the supporters of this women that do. I choose to respond, if in the mood. And yes, in my morals and values, church is one of the places where I pray. Don't you think everyone involved in this needs prayer???
Anonymous Awesome person May 04, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Uhhh... Fact: you are still writing??? This is called going on after a YEAR that you even said in a year this would all just be a blip... Fact: You are arguing with a 12 year old girl... Fact: this girl has a lot more in her than you think Fact: everybody in the world needs prayer... Not just the people involved...
stephanie pytlowanyj May 04, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Aw, just as I thought, AA person, is at times an adult posting. Fact, I don't pretend to be anyone but myself. Fact, it appears it's OK for the supporters to continue to post, and anyone else, it's not OK. It's called freedom of speech and both sides are entitled to post, as well as anyone on the fence. Fact, sometimes litigation takes longer. Looks like this is going to take a bit longer due to mediation being rejected. And yes, if you choose to nitpick, everyone can use prayer. Finally, I don't think anything about your kid posting. Why are you making it personal? I'm not. I honestly don't care what you or any of the Sahouri's supporters think of me :)
Anonymous Awesome person May 04, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Fact: it is called talking in second person... We learned about it in social studies this week thank you very much. I don't think Of you in a certain way! You're a person and I understand the freedom of speech just as well as right to bear arms and freedom of religion... It's an amendment and I get it!!! I hope you understand that I am just trying to settle this about Tracy sahouri not start a new topic... And so if you say the Tracy followers think its ok an it's not why is it ok for you to go on too?
Lonnie Kazer May 04, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Anonymous awesome person- thank you for the Invitation! I hear great things about the River and know people that attend there. Thanks for the kindness and keep on shining HIS Light!
Anonymous Awesome person May 04, 2013 at 10:28 PM
No problem!! Glad I could help!! It's basically my home... @lonnie

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