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UPDATE: Parents, staff react to Mid Pen ‘Student of the Week’ submission

An inaccurate description of a freshman student was submitted to the local newspaper by a teacher.
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 7:47 PM EST
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - UPDATE: A Mid Peninsula School teacher is no longer employed with the district after that teacher wrote and submitted a negative student of the week profile to the Daily Press.

“In regards to the teacher who submitted the inappropriate student of the week write up, that individual is no longer employed with the district. We are proud of all our students and have taken the appropriate actions to ensure this will not happen again,” said Eric VanDamme, principal and superintendent of Mid Peninsula School, in a statement.

An article published in the Daily Press Escanaba has locals calling for a teacher at Mid Peninsula School to be fired.

“I’d seen some comments and I’m like ‘what is happening here?’ And then the article came out and I’m like ‘oh awesome, Cody student of the week.’ Then I started reading it and I’m like ‘seriously? What am I reading?’” said Lindsey Pepin, mother of Cody Pepin.

A teacher submitted a “Student of the Week” profile to the newspaper but instead of praising Cody Pepin, this teacher said things like “He’s the Mount Everest of Idiocy” and “Cody is a lazy sluggard of a kid.”

“Is this a joke? April fools? Something? No. Nope, it was in the press on Saturday,” said Pepin.

Cody Pepin is a 14-year-old freshman at Mid Peninsula School. Principal and superintendent Eric VanDamme describes him as a hard worker. His parents, a very sweet and thoughtful boy.

“He’s got a heart of gold, the first one to always offer for help. If you see somebody sitting alone that has nobody at lunchtime at lunchtime or if they’re alone at recess, he’s the first one to go over there,” said Pepin.

“We Love our community, We Love our School, and most of all, we Love our Son. I am so proud of the amazing young man Cody is, and I am honored to be his Father. This world is truly a better place with Cody in it and I am so proud to call him my Son. I Love you Cody! Dream Big! Love Dad,” Cody’s dad, Dave Pepin, said in a statement.

In a statement from Mid Pen School, VanDamme says the school is dealing with the incident internally and the description of Cody in the paper is not accurate.

“What was published in the Daily Press over the weekend is not an accurate description of our Student of the Week Cody Pepin. On behalf of the Mid Peninsula School District I would like to offer Cody and his family a public apology. Cody is an excellent young man and we are proud to have him as a student. He will do great things in life!! We are investigating how this incident took place and are dealing with it internally. We take great pride in every one of our students and something like this should have never happened,” Eric VanDamme, principal and superintendent of Mid Pen Schools said in his statement.

TV6 reached out to the Daily Press for comment and was told the editorial person was interrupted and didn’t go back to finish reading the article.

“The negative profile of Pepin was written and submitted by a Mid Peninsula teacher who’s been writing and submitting student of the week profiles for many years. The Daily Press regrets and apologizes for the printing of a submitted piece and has reached out to Pepin’s family to express it support,” the Daily Press said in a statement.

The parents of Cody Pepin expressed that Mid Pen is a great school with great teachers and this one incident doesn’t accurately reflect the school.

A corrected student of the week profile for Cody will appear in Tuesday and Saturday’s paper which will read:

“Cody is an outstanding student at Mid Peninsula School. He can be counted on to make great decisions and treat others fairly. One of the most outstanding characteristics of a young student is the willingness to stand up for others even when adults are not watching, which Cody does on a regular basis. He is known throughout our building as the person who will stand up for what is right no matter what. On top of being a caring young man, Cody excels with his academics as well as being part of the high school robotics team. He has made a commitment to his academics and it has shown by getting excellent grades. Cody enjoys hunting, fishing, ice racing, being outdoors, dirt biking, and spending time with friends and family. We are proud to have Cody as a student of Mid Peninsula School.”

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