Hesperia teacher not guilty

October 29, 2014
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Baird

WHITE CLOUD — A Hesperia gym teacher accused of assaulting a student has been found not guilty.

The Newaygo County Prosecutor’s Office charged Douglas Baird last spring with two counts of assault and battery. Baird was acquitted in a jury trial Tuesday, Oct. 28.

Baird was ousted as wrestling coach last year.

An April 24 incident involving a student caused Baird to be placed on paid administrative leave. The incident was an allegation that he grabbed a student by the sweatshirt and dragged the student backwards, causing a bruise.

The school board voted a year ago to not renew Baird’s contract as wrestling coach after he had been reprimanded for two incidents. One involved alleged use of marijuana by unsupervised Hesperia wrestlers during an overnight trip, and the other involved a failure to report alleged inappropriate touching between two students.

Baird, whose wrestling teams had been highly successful, kept his positions as physical education instructor and cross country coach after he was removed as wrestling coach. His coaching career includes state championships for both sports and several top five or better finishes at the state level.

The small town has been divided over the controversy.

 

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