Michigan GOP House Nominee Quit Teaching Job After Reprimands For Abusing Students

Congressional candidate Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI)

Congressional candidate Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI)

Tea Party activist Kerry Bentivolio, the Republican nominee to replace Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), is known for being a Santa Claus impersonator. But a Detroit Free Press examination of Michigan public records shows that during his career as an educator paints an image of an abusive school teacher who terrorized students and resigned after multiple administrative reprimands.

According to the Free Press:

On the first day of school last year, Kerry Bentivolio told students in his English class at Fowlerville High School that he had one goal: to make each one of them cry at least once.

Bentivolio, now the Republican candidate in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District — which includes western Wayne and Oakland counties — also told the students that they were “just a paycheck to me,” according to a description of incidents in his personnel file. The Free Press obtained his records under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act. Bentivolio didn’t return calls Tuesday.

Bentivolio’s declarations earned him a verbal reprimand from his assistant principal and a formal letter demanding that he correct his behavior. Nine months later, school administrators reprimanded him for intimidating and threatening students by grabbing their desks and yelling in their faces or for slamming his fists on their desks.

Bentivolio won the nomination earlier this month after McCotter was disqualified for submitting invalid ballot petitions and a write-in campaign by establishment party figures failed.

He is the latest in a growing series of embarrassments among Republican Congressional candidates and incumbents. In recent weeks, Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) has come under bipartisan fire for his comments that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy, Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) had to apologize for his behavior on a Congressional trip to Israel, and Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Michael Grimm (R-NY), and David Rivera (R-FL) continued to draw attention for alleged ethical scandals.