Parents, students voice opinions over firing of Wyoming High’s Dean of Students

Posted at 10:38 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 22:38:45-05
Reuben Riley Linked In Photo

Reuben Riley, courtesy LinkedIn.

WYOMING, Mich. -- A police investigation is underway, and a school official is out of a job following an alleged assault at Wyoming High School nearly two weeks ago.

It all happened Tuesday, January 26. Police said Rueben Riley - Wyoming High's Dean of Students and assistant football coach - was sent to a classroom to deal with an unruly student. Some sort of altercation broke out, and the student was thrown to the ground. It’s a case that’s got a lot of people talking.

Monday night, parents and students gave their accounts of the incident at the Wyoming High School Board of Education meeting.

FOX 17 reached out to Riley at his home in Grand Rapids. Riley’s wife said he was not home, and that in light of a pending investigation, said that she was unsure if he would be willing to talk to us.

Meanwhile, the board of education said that by law, they can listen to peoples’ comments at the meeting Monday night, but cannot respond during public comment.

FOX 17 News asked Superintendent Dr. Thomas Reeder a second time for a comment about the incident, but he declined, indicating that he will speak at a later date.

However, parents and students were ready to talk during public comment, and said they were discouraged by everyone being “tight-lipped." About a dozen parents got up to speak on Riley’s behalf Monday night, saying that they feel they’re on the outside-looking-in at the whole incident.

“Why was Mr. Riley the one that was dealing with this situation and not the community police officer? And was Mr. Riley properly trained to deal with that situation? Should he have even been put in that situation?" said one parent.

Parents told FOX 17 News that without being given answers from the district about what happened, they’re left to speculate on things like termination protocols, and the consequences for the student involved in the alleged incident. They said they have not received a letter, statement, e-mail, or call from the school explaining what has happened or what is going on.

The kids are ultimately the ones who suffer, parents say, without Riley as a resource. It was a sentiment that was echoed by some of the students at the meeting like Vanessa Cage, a witness to the incident.

“I have had some problems with personal things, and he talked to me about it in his office and made me feel a lot better about it,” Cage said. “He always got on me for my grades because they weren’t that great for a minute.”

Cage says she hasn’t been asked by police or the school on what she witnessed. She said it’s unfortunate what happened, but as a senior, it makes her upset to know her biggest champion won’t be in her corner on graduation night.

“I wish he would be there because he was a great model for a lot of people, for everybody. Everybody that he talked to he made an impact on," Cage said.

FOX 17 News is still waiting  for a response from Wyoming school officials. In addition to losing his job, Riley was also arraigned on a Misdemeanor Assault charge. He posted a $100 bond. The incident remains under investigation