Teacher Spends Days at School, Nights in Jail

One Michigan teacher is spending his days at school and his nights in jail.

Donald Colpaert, 37, was sentenced on Jan. 27 to 30 days in jail for civil contempt for violating a court protective order for threats he allegedly made against a co-worker's husband.

He was granted work release earlier this month and has been commuting from the Macomb County jail to work at an alternative school at the Thomson Community Center.

"It's not setting a good example at all. Considering it's already an alternative school for students that are not going to the main district schools," Tina Christian, parent of a Thomson student, told ABC News affiliate WXYZ.

A lawyer for the school district said he did not think the district could fire Colpaert, a tenured middle school teacher, for the contempt order. The school district reprimanded Colpaert and suspended him for three days without pay in early December.

"He could certainly be setting a much better example," said the lawyer, William Albertson. "At the same time, I do not believe at this point in time that he would be subject to discharge. The school district cannot simply terminate teachers for reasons of its own."

Albertson said Colpaert could be fired if he committed further violations of the court order.

Teacher Allegedly Sent Harassing Notes to Co-Worker

In a letter to parents, Van Dyke public schools Superintendent Kathleen Spaulding said the incident was an "isolated issue between two adult co-workers and is in no way impacting classroom instruction."

Colpaert could not be reached for comment. His lawyer did not return a call for comment.

According to court documents, Colpaert had a brief relationship with his co-worker, Cindy Spohn, which Spohn broke off to reconcile with her husband.

Colpaert was suspended for three days in December for allegedly having inappropriate contact with the woman.

According to a memo sent to Colpaert from school officials, Colpaert sent her two "harassing" e-mails and left a note in her mailbox.

Spohn claims that Colpaert threatened her son, harassed her husband over the phone and harassed her at work, according to the personal protection order complaint she filed in court.

Teacher Allegedly Violated Court Order

At a court hearing, Judge Edward Servitto told Colpaert, "I can't believe you're an educator," according to WXYZ.

Colpaert violated the protective order shortly after it was granted by having contact with Spohn's husband in the courtroom hallway, court documents say.

He allegedly told Spohn's husband, "We could have settled this man to man. It's on now, it's on," according to WXYZ.

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