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Beline Obeid

Bowen suspended again

Grosse Pointe Public School System

June 12, 2008
For the second time in three months, Grosse Pointe South High School choir teacher Ellen Bowen has been suspended from teaching.

Bowen was suspended with pay Friday pending further investigation of a new incident, said South principal Al Diver.

He could not discuss the details of what prompted her suspension.

"It's a personnel issue so I cannot talk about it," he said.

Diver did confirm that he had received numerous calls from parents complaining that Bowen kept students in rehearsal until 11:30 p.m. the night before senior exams. The choir was practicing for its performance, "Broadway 2008."

News of Bowen's suspension spread quickly through South's student body Friday.

Some choir students sang songs in protest outside the school's administrative office as the dismissal bell started to ring.

A rumor that Bowen had been fired prompted a flood of phone calls to Diver and to the district's adminstrative offices.

"We were inundated with phone calls right after school from parents and students asking if she had been fired," said community relations manager Rebecca Fannon.

Diver said Bowen would not be directing the choir during its performance at South's commencement ceremonies this Thursday, June 12.

This is the second consecutive year Bowen has not been allowed to attend the school's graduation exercises. Last year, she was serving a court-ordered suspension for a misdemeanor assault and battery conviction in a 2006 road rage incident.

In April of this year, Bowen served a three-day suspension for her role in a dispute with a student in March.

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