- A Michigan teacher was suspended after reportedly telling students how he would’ve carried out the Oxford school shooting.
- Emails obtained by Insider show students also accused the teacher of using a slur and telling his class how he would’ve done 9/11 differently.
- In one of the emails, the teacher told the school’s principal that he was “shocked and stunned” by the allegations.
A Michigan teacher who was suspended after reportedly telling his classes how he would’ve carried out the Oxford school shooting was also accused of using a slur in class and telling students how he would have done 9/11 differently, according to emails obtained by Insider.
The incident happened in December at Hopkins High School, located about two-and-a-half hours west of Oxford, Michigan. A gunman opened fire at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021, killing four students.
Hopkins High School Principal Ken Szczepanski previously told WMMT that teachers had been issued a memo on how to discuss the Oxford shooting with students, and that one teacher had been suspended after going “off script” and making “insensitive” comments.
Emails obtained by Insider through a public records request show that Hopkins students accused the teacher of using a slur in class and detailing how he would’ve carried out the 9/11 attacks, in addition to saying how he would’ve done the Oxford shooting differently.
Szczepanski told Insider that the teacher, identified in the emails as Robert Wiersema, remains on administrative leave. Wiersema did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment, and the Hopkins Public School District said it could not provide the name of an attorney for him.
In one email to the principal, a parent alleged Wiersema told his students that “if he was going to shoot kids he would pull the fire alarm and send everyone to the cafeteria or football field and shoot them in the head at once.” The parent added that their child did not want to go to school because of “severe anxiety” over school shootings.
In another email to Szczepanski, Hopkins School Board member Jessica Johnson said that several parents reached out to her after their children “expressed concern” over Wiersema’s comments. Parents accused Wiersema of telling his classes that he would pull the fire alarm if he were to commit a school shooting, she wrote.
“He also shared that he carries a gun with him and keeps it in his car every day,” Johnson wrote. “This is very concerning to me and I was appalled to hear this and I can’t imagine how the students feel after hearing this.”
Another email from a student to Szczepanski alleges that Wiersema “started joking” about the Oxford shooting in class, saying that if a shooter came to Hopkins, “he would just take the gun from them and shoot the shooter instead.” The student wrote that they thought those comments were “incredibly disrespectful” and not “something a teacher should be saying.”
The teacher allegedly detailed what “would have killed more people than 9/11”
One student alleged in an email that the teacher told his classes how he would have carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks differently. Wiersema said that he would have “done something to the water aqueducts” to keep people from fighting fires, which “would have killed more people than 9/11,” according to the student.
Szczepanski also received emails from students alleging that the teacher repeatedly used an ethnic and religious slur in class. One student asked Szczepanski if they could switch to a different elective class in the new year because Wiersema’s language made them uncomfortable.
Hopkins Public Schools director of technology Scott Getter told Szczepanski that he “looked into” Wiersema’s classroom documents and had found one “modified” document that used the slur, according to another email.
The document included a “Jeopardy-style review” where one prompt that used the slur read in part: “…scraggly bearded weirdo who wants to change the way things are by, and usually does so by hijacking, bombing, sniping, and other forms of mayhem.”
The answer to the prompt appears to be “terrorist,” according to Getter’s email.
The teacher says he’s “one of the last people to possibly be a threat to students”
Wiersema emailed Szczepanski on the morning of December 3, 2021, with a response to the allegations. According to his email signature, Wiersema teaches economics, government, sociology, psychology, and social sciences.
Wiersema wrote that he was “stunned” and in emotional distress over the allegations. He told the principal that he discussed the possibility of a “lockdown” due to a school shooting with students in his first-period class, saying that he “paraphrased” the memo on how to talk about the Oxford shooting.
He said he also brought up a school shooting in Arkansas where someone had pulled a fire alarm before shooting students, writing that he wanted to “alert students to be very aware of their surroundings.”
Wiersema also denied ever bringing a weapon onto campus.
“I would consider myself to be one of the last people to possibly be a threat to the students,” he wrote in the email.
A Michigan State Police spokesperson told Insider that a criminal investigation into Weirsema’s comments has been forwarded to the Allegan County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Allegan County prosecutor Myrene Koch didn’t immediately return Insider’s request for comment.