October 14, 2019

Hale Superintendent charged with felony eavesdropping


IOSCO COUNTY — Hale Area Schools Superintendent Loren Vannest was arraigned in 81st District Court for one count of felony eavesdropping March 23.

Vannest allegedly recorded a meeting of the school board when it went into closed session, Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Craig Johnson said.

The recording allegedly occurred during the board’s regular meeting Dec. 18, when the school board went closed session at the request of a parent to discuss a complaint against Vannest.

According to the board minutes, the discussion was protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. However, when Vannest left the room, he allegedly left behind his phone to record the meeting. A statement in support of the warrant stated that the recording begins when the meeting was called into closed session and that none of the recording took place during the open meeting.

Following the discovery of the phone, the board contacted its attorney who informed them to contact law enforcement. Vannest was then placed on paid administrative leave until last week, when according to board Attorney Robert Huber, the board elected to terminate Vannest’s pay on the grounds he was charged with committing a crime. However, Vannest is still an employee of the district and is listed at the superintendent, according to the district website.

Conditions of the bond were not immediately available.


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