Spring Lake schools lawsuit to be dropped

The attorney for Spring Lake Athletic Director Cavin Mohrhardt said the lawsuit he filed on behalf of his client will be dismissed after Tuesday's appeal in front of the district's Board of Education.
Marie Havenga
Mar 6, 2012

“My client is happy that they've granted him an appeal,” said attorney Ed Grafton, who filed the lawsuit in Ottawa County Circuit Court on Feb. 23. “If they give him the hearing like they said they're going to give him, then the lawsuit becomes moot.”

The Spring Lake school board voted last week to let Mohrhardt speak his peace in an appellate review scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Spring Lake Middle School media center, 345 Hammond St.

Mohrhardt filed suit against the board seeking an appeal to an administrative decision that makes a written reprimand part of his permanent employment file. The reprimand stems from a comment Mohrhardt made to the parent of a Newaygo basketball player at a Jan. 24 contest between the Lakers and Lions.

Mohrhardt admitted to Spring Lake High School Principal Mike Gilchrist that he told parent Matthew Bradley, “I am not going to kiss (your) butt.” He objected to Gilchrist's reprimand being part of his permanent file.

Mohrhardt's request for a hearing before the board was denied by Superintendent Dennis Furton in a Feb. 21 letter. Furton said it was Mohrhardt's choice of words that warranted the written reprimand and that the context or other details were irrelevant.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


Truth Guy

As a citizen within SL Public School District, I'm concerned about the direction of OUR school district. SL Public Schools was admired by surrounding school districts within the state and nationwide. However, times have changed these past 3 - 4 years. Laker Pride is being removed.

One of the highly respected Lakers - Cavin Mohrhardt has been written up for using the word "Butt." It's not the word "Butt" that got Mohrhardt written up but a school board member with hard feelings towards him. This board member(s) embedded their idealogy into Supt. Furton's head since his hiring a few years ago.

Restore Laker Pride!!!!!! Support SL Public Schools. Talk with teachers and staff hear their concerns.


In response to Truth Guy: could you be more specific? SLPS continues to be a leader in the state in...everything. Where is the decline? I have opinions about what could improve at SLPS, but as a parent of students there, I see motivated & proud teachers, administrators, & support staff. What am I missing? Do tell.

Zippy Jones

Decline? There has been lots that I've been told about and have seem. Feaux committees for mandated decisions. Administrators forced out early. Great teachers quitting- or looking to leave (who chooses to leave SLPS before retirement?). No community anymore. How about the working relationships, a lack of trust & mood with the teachers, admins and staff. Ask 'em. They are only hardly part of the process- not even in a in a superficial way. You can't handle the "truth" Winnie, you hide from it, I imagine. You seem to have some insider opinion, do tell. Cowboy? Iz dat yous?

You want "Truth" to go to Muskegon? Was he aimed at Muskegon for any specific reason, Winston?

Longtime Laker

Decline? Definitely. Our run as a Top 2% district is long over and is not happening again with current "leadership" in place. The silent majority must stand up and let it be known this can no longer be tolerated.

I must say I have never seen the moral in our schools so low. Spring Lake Schools used to be a dream destination for any family, as well as any talented educator. Now it has evolved into compromised programs (e.g. Young 5s) and administrators choosing early retirement or desperately seeking employment elsewhere. Teachers from every building and level being fed up with the lack of leadership and poor decision making, and yet afraid of the repercussions if they voice their concerns. And sadly, now with the recent local headlines including words like "Lawsuit" Spring Lake has become a punchline to the same neighboring school districts who used to envy us.

It is time the board recognizes this as a major problem and one that is only getting worse. We cannot afford to continue losing talented and creative managers because of the selfish concerns of certain individuals. Those of you who played a part in bringing in this Superintendent need to be courageous and rational enough to admit the hiring process was botched from the start and that this is simply not working.

Too much work has gone into building this school to where it is (was!!!), only to see a few individuals tear it apart.

Truth Guy

Unfortunately, you must not be very involved in the school district. There are personal agendas driving this school district instead of what's best for the whole district.


Fly on the wall: thanks for the light hearted and humorous response...again. Perspective and humor. Love it.

Fly on the Wall

Sounds like you just like to hear yourself talk. Come up with some specifics.

My kids are in private schools, so you are right, I don't have a duck in this fight, but your blah blah blah is nothing but a bunch of blah blah blah without something to hang my hat on.

Out with it, or are you afraid of the Spring Lake Mafia, coming at you with their popped collars and penny loafers?

Fly on the Wall


That's what I'm talking about..


He shouldn't have that be a part of his permanent record. I would assume that there was a very good reason why he said that to the parent. We all know how over the top sports parents can be at times.


Parents should never be allowed to control your horse unless of course they want to actually be the coach themselves.


There are people running around with bricks and making all sorts of claims based on their own bias. But we must remember, you must think before you speak. There is no reprimand if you just think it. Just don't do it, let it roll around in your brain and enjoy it. But do not say it, it is the law of the land and even more so the higher you go. I get concerned when the chaos people come out and begin their doom and gloom speech and try to make something sinister and catastrophic out of a slip of the tongue. If you are not happy or are tired of children go somewhere else do something else. Because we need you focused on engaging our children with learning not sharing your baditude with them. After all is said and done we are about the children right? right!!


As the saying goes, "birds of a feather flock together" and I think the kind of "support" (i.e. bricks, vandalism, etc.) demonstrated for Mr. Mohrhardt is likely indicative of who he is close to, as are the juvenile verbal attacks here on the Tribune site articles. Those are things that reveal character, something we don't often talk about anymore.

If those people/acts do not represent him and his values accurately then he should be publicly speaking out against them.


This whole thing makes me think of Saturday Night Live where they used to do a part of the news called, "Really!?!"

I moved to SL several years ago and am now questioning if SL is the right school to send my children to. Here's why:

-An AD who files a lawsuit because of a slap on the wrist for a poor word choice. Really?!? Act like a professional and don't stoop to someone's level when you're representing your school.

-An AD who uses inflammatory language when he feels students are in danger!?! REALLY!?! If my kids are in danger, call the police! Using antagonistic words certainly does not disarm a hostile situation!

-A community that votes on a board to run the school but then has dozens of people responding to unpopular decisions by bashing the very people they chose to represent them. Really?!?

-A community where people resort to throwing bricks through windows, making threats, and vandalizing property. REALLY?!?

-A superintendent doing a great job, making difficult budget decisions getting bashed repeatedly for prioritizing education and meeting the budget over making sure a few people keep their custodial jobs. Really?!?

Mr. Mohrhardt said he is happy with being able to be heard. Let's move on, appreciate that everyone involved had some tough decisions to make, let the school board and Mr. Furton do their jobs, and continue to make SL a better community so people new to the community, like me, don't decide to move somewhere else.


I think that anybody who even attempts to justify brick throwing is a brick or two short. And to those who slam the Superintendent.....have you ever talked to him....I mean really talked to him? He is a human being who cares deeply about the education of the students of SLPS.

What is it about the education system that all too often brings out the worst in people? Why is there so much anger? First "they" are taking away your health insurance (never mind the fact that it has happened in every other work segment of society). Then "they" are taking away your right to be tenured no matter how good or bad a teacher you may be (never mind that those who don't have union protection are at risk of being fired everday). Then "they" are taking away the only custodians in the world who knew how to clean and treat kids with respect (have you bothered to check out how the new custodians are performing?). When do YOU become a part of the equation and stop blaming THEM?

Angry people need to look inside and be honest with themselves for once. It's just too easy to blame somebody else. I pity those poor souls.

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