Principal fights punishment

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — A high school principal in northwest Michigan is fighting a five-day, unpaid suspension levied over accusations he lied to district administrators over removal of the school’s “spirit rock.” West Senior High School Principal Joe Esper was suspended, effective Monday, after a Traverse City Area Public Schools investigation determined he approved the removal. Early in the investigation, he said he didn’t know what happened to the large, frequently-painted boulder, the Record-Eagle reported. District Superintendent Paul Soma also added a disciplinary letter to Esper’s personnel file. Soma said Esper authorized the rock’s burial onsite in July, but that he denied knowledge of its whereabouts. “Not being truthful about your conduct upon direct questioning is not an acceptable behavior for anyone in our organization, but certainly when it comes to the principal of our largest high school,” Soma said.