by Joanne Maliszewski
Farmington Public Schools will offer district-wide assistance in wake of the arrest of a 58-year-old Farmington Hills resident and substitute teacher who has been charged in the sexual assault of a minor student.
Andrew Montgomery Howell, was arraigned on a charge of criminal sexual conduct second-degree on March 29 before Judge James Brady in 47th District Court. Howell received a $1 million cash or surety bond.
Howell is charged in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred during school hours at Hillside Elementary School on March 19. Farmington Hills police said an investigation revealed that Howell, who has been a substitute teacher for more than 25 years, allegedly had sexual contact with a female student under the age of 13.
Superintendent Sue Zurvalec informed district parents of the incident and arrest in an open letter Friday morning, the last day of school before a weeklong spring break.
“On the morning of Wednesday, March 20, the district initiated an investigation that included interviews with parents and students and as a result of that investigation, a report was filed with the Michigan Department of Human Services,” Zurvalec told parents.
When the school district was informed of the investigation, Howell was immediately blocked as a substitute, said Dave Ruhland, associate superintendent.
District officials plan to offer assistance to employees and students. “We’re still trying to determine what would be the best resources,” Ruhland said.
Because Howell substituted throughout the district, any type of assistance or support would be offered throughout all of the school buildings, he said.
Howell worked as a substitute through a third-party company, who was also immediately informed of the arrest. In addition to the company’s standard background check, the school district also performs independent criminal history checks of substitute teachers, Ruhland said.
“There’s nothing remotely related in his file,” Ruhland added. District officials plan to continue communicating with parents regarding the incident, as well as plans for assistance, Ruhland added.
Howell will face a pre-conference exam at 8:30 a.m. April 5 before 47th District Court Judge Marla Parker. A preliminary examination is tentatively scheduled for 9 a.m. April 12, also before Parker.
This article was written by Joanne Maliszewski and originally published on hometownlife