Editor Note: Corrections have been made to the article. Middlewood was a teacher aide not a substitute teacher when he was asked to leave MSD the first time. We have also added clarification of hiring practices by the Michiagn school for the Deaf.
Mid-Michigan NOW announced 17 alleged child sex predators have been arrested since March thanks to the Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team (G.H.O.S.T.) team. This particular team focuses on arrests for various crimes involving alleged child sexual exploitation.
One among the individuals was a former long-term substitute teacher from Michigan School for the Deaf, Erik Middlewood.
Deaf community members have varying reactions, however there are many people that know him who are not surprised. According to sources close to Erik, he has long struggled with his sex addiction and has gone to rehab. Middlewood had been presently working in mobile food delivery recently and resides in Otisville. He has been arraigned and is to appear in court on Monday, August 24, 2020.
An anonymous source came forward and shared that in 2014-2015, Erik had been let go as a teacher aide because he was caught texting with underage female students. When a female student had approached another teacher, the teacher immediately reported it to the administrative team who swiftly removed Middlewood from his position. He went back a second and a third time under varying administrators. “I was confused, he had been let go because of making inappropriate comments to several underage girls and yet here he was working at MSD again!” said the source.
This led to some questions about whether Michigan School for the Deaf keeps documents incident reports after reported situations involving employees and contractors. It took another teacher fighting his suspension the third time after an incident had been reported of inappropriate behavior on his end. That particular teacher asked for him to be terminated due to Middlewood’s history of inappropriate conduct. Once Human Resources was informed of his history, they terminated his contract.
It has been requested to emphasize that the Michigan School for the Deaf was not the one that hired Middlewood any of the three times his services were contracted out to the school. He had been initially employed through one contracting agency which no longer provides the service to Michigan School for the Deaf. Michigan School for the Deaf currently relies on Genesee Education Consulting Services (GECS) to fill vacant positions. It has additionally been shared by parents that they understand that the state has very rigid standards for teachers and many people are not interested in moving to Flint, Michigan because of the water crisis. With these two things combined, it has been very difficult to get teachers that are fully vetted through the state.
Middlewood is a 2007 graduate of Michigan School for the Deaf where he served on the Student Body Government (SBG) for four years along with varying activities. He attended and graduated from Gallaudet University. According to his profile on LinkedIn he was also the President of Delta Sigma Phi of Eta Psi Chapter the last year it was active on campus along with participating in Buff & Blue as a writer and had been involved in International Human Rights Committees.
To report an incident involving the possession, distribution, receipt, or production of child pornography, file a report on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)’s website at www.cybertipline.com, or call 1-800-843-5678.