Documents reveal details surrounding former Ontonagon Area Schools athletic director’s resignation

The documents include a complaint letter sent by the former athletic director, Tim Routheaux, regarding alleged harassment by the OAS superintendent.
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 8:46 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ONTONAGON, Mich. (WLUC) - On March 27, a resignation agreement was finalized between the school board and Tim Routheaux, the Ontonagon Area School’s (OAS) former athletic director and high school math teacher.

Since then, students and parents have protested the decision, leading to a public display of dissent at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Until Wednesday, the circumstances of Routheaux’s resignation have been unclear, but the original complaint and the investigation report obtained through the Freedom of Information Act present both sides of the story.

On February 13, Routheaux submitted a complaint to OAS anti-harrassment officers. In it, he says Superintendent Lisa Johnson had been harassing him throughout the school year.

“The superintendent of Ontonagon Area School District, Lisa Johnson, is singling me out...” he says. “At athletic events, she even smothers me... She instructed the school board lawyer to threaten me (with) 10 days suspension without pay... Most recently, she suspended me three days without pay. I did not do anything wrong.”

Routheaux says the situation affected his mental health and work performance.

The school board then launched an investigation through an outside attorney. Over a two-day period, the attorney interviewed Routheaux, Johnson, and 24 other witnesses. His report was issued to the school board on March 16.

In an interview with Johnson, she says she tried to have regular communication with Routheaux at the start of the school year. However, he put a stop to that after the district denied him a pay raise.

She also says Routheaux struck a student with a yardstick in another part of the school in October, leading Johnson to request that police interview him. However, Johnson says Routheaux and his union representatives declined an interview.

Johnson says it was this series of events that led to the filing of a grievance and mediation agreement on December 21, which Routheaux signed on January 11th.

At a fact-finding meeting on February 6, the school board asked Routheaux about reported concerns, leading to a three-day suspension.

Routheaux cites this meeting in his complaint, saying, “I did nothing wrong.”

Johnson says the decision was made based on a “lack of integrity and honesty shown by Routheaux in the meeting.”

Routheaux was suspended twice more before entering the resignation agreement last month.

The OAS board of education provided an updated statement to TV6, saying:

The board of education keeps the students and its mission, “in concert with the community, to educate all students to reach their highest potential and be productive members of society,” at the center of all decisions. The board of education received a complaint in February 2023 and facilitated an investigation. To ensure a fair, non-biased process the school board hired a third-party investigative attorney, with no ties to the district or anyone employed with the district, to conduct the investigation. The board has accepted a staff resignation. The district has no further comment.