An East Grand Rapids High School graduate says a lot of students thought teacher and cross-country coach Nick Hopkins was an “unsafe person.”
And she says they thought so 10 years ago when she was in school.
Hopkins, 44, is on administrative leave while the district and police investigate allegations he had inappropriate contact with former students. Hopkins has been with the district as a teacher and cross-country coach for over 15 years.
At a school board meeting Monday night, a former student and cross-country runner said there were questions about the coach when she was a student in 2008.
“He was known to be dating former runners quite soon after graduation,” she told the board. “I was aware, as were most students, Nick Hopkins was not a safe person.”
“There are two investigations,” says school superintendent Sara M. Shubel. “One is the district’s investigation, then there is a parallel investigation by public safety.”
The district is not releasing the number of students who may have had inappropriate contact with Hopkins or when.
“There are details we cannot disclose,” says board president Natalie Bernecker. “I ask that everyone help us in respecting the privacy of our former students and Mr. Hopkin’s privacy.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 13, East Grand Rapids Public School released a FAQ sheet addressing the investigation. They answered 16 questions related to the Hopkins situation, including "Are students or staff able to speak with Mr. Hopkins during the investigation?"
The school district answers this by saying, "In this particular situation, Mr. Hopkins was placed on an
administrative leave of absence and received a specific directive that he was not to speak or discuss the investigation with anyone affiliated with EGRPS, staff, current and/or former students, and parents, with the exception of his representatives from the East Grand Rapids Education Association (EGREA)."
The rest of the questions and answers can be found here.
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