A trial date has finally been set in a lawsuit filed five years ago against Hartland Consolidated Schools by a former administrator.

Tracey Sahouri sued the district in 2012, alleging it violated the Whistleblower Protection Act when it removed her as principal from Creekside Elementary School. She claims it was in retaliation for reporting “irregularities” in how the district administered state-mandated student achievement tests. She was later re-assigned to a teaching position. The district sought to dismiss the lawsuit, which was denied by a Genesee County Circuit Court judge. That prompted an appeal to the Michigan Court of Appeals, which allowed the claim to proceed. The district then appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case in April, saying they were not persuaded the questions should be reviewed. That returned the case to Genesee County Circuit Court, where an October 3rd trial date has now been scheduled.

The district contends Sahouri’s re-assignment was based on the conclusions of a state report that determined teachers at Creekside improperly gained access to material from the tests in 2011, which constituted a breach of security. Sahouri’s attorney, Tom Pabst, has said that Hartland administration led what he called “an out-of-control lynch mob” that trashed Sahouri’s career in part due to a ticket she received in the summer of 2011 for allowing a minor to consume alcohol at her Argentine Township home during a graduation party. The ticket was later dismissed and Sahouri settled a lawsuit over the matter with Argentine Township for $150,000. The district has contended that incident had nothing to do with its decision regarding Sahouri. (JK)