BTC instructor says he acted correctly when he removed student

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Frank Schultz
Friday, May 17, 2013

— A Blackhawk Technical College instructor accused of physically removing a student from a classroom was suspended and told to take an anger-management class.

Instructor Michael Langdon says he acted correctly and is disputing the administration’s ruling.

Langdon got no satisfaction from the district board on Thursday night. The board denied Langdon’s request for a hearing before the board as part of a union grievance process, college spokesman Gary Kohn said.

The decision means that Langdon’s request for a hearing, at least before the board, has been denied.

While Langdon has followed the union grievance process, his union's executive council has voted not to support him, said Doug Tabbut, grievance chairman for the Blackhawk Technical Faculty Federation.

Langdon is accused of grabbing the male student, lifting him from his seat and forcing him out of the classroom at the college’s Beloit Center on Jan. 29, according to a letter from college Vice President of Human Resources Brian Gohlke to Langdon.

The Feb. 14 letter states that interviews with students confirmed that two students were disruptive, that one left the class when Langdon told her to, and the other refused. Students also confirmed “the physical removal of the male student,” the letter states.

Witnesses differed, however, about exactly how Langdon employed force on the student, the letter states.

The letter states that Langdon did not follow correct procedures for a disruptive student.

“The College will not tolerate aggressive behavior of employees toward others,” Gohlke wrote.

The letter states Langdon would be suspended for 10 days without pay, would have to participate in an anger-management program and would not teach the introduction to writing class for the rest of the spring semester.

The letter says any further inappropriate action would be grounds for immediate firing.

Langdon has worked for the college for more than 23 years, Gohlke said.

Langdon responded March 2 in a five-page letter, citing a state statute that says a student who is dangerous, unruly or disruptive may be removed from a class. Gohlke responded later that the statute does not apply to technical colleges.

Langdon wrote that the student was not harmed and that Langdon acted “without anger or aggression.”

Leading up to the altercation, the student had yelled at him and violently slammed down his book, “demonstrating that the student was already predisposed to disorderly and aggressive behavior,” Langdon wrote.

Langdon said he allowed the student to return to the classroom after the student “violently hit the door in some manner four or five times.”

The Beloit Police Department reports that Langdon and James D. Logan, 19, of Beloit, both were issued municipal citations for disorderly conduct in the incident.

Langdon has requested he receive his docked pay of $3,191, that he not take the anger-management class and that the Feb. 14 letter be removed from his personnel file.

Gohlke denied the request. Langdon appealed to college President Tom Eckert, who backed Gohlke, correspondence shows.

Gohlke said Langdon could request arbitration through the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

Gazette reporter Neil Johnson contributed to this story.

Last updated: 10:35 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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