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Substitute Teacher Charged With Sex Crime Worked 'Across the District'

Andrew Montgomery Howell, a certified teacher, worked for a private staffing company contracted by Farmington Public Schools.

A Farmington Hills man who faces a charge of criminal sexual conduct was substitute teaching in a gym class at Hillside Elementary School, but worked in various Farmington Public Schools classrooms over a period of more than 25 years, school officials said Friday.

Andrew Montgomery Howell, 58, was arraigned in 47th District Court Thursday on a charge of criminal sexual conduct in the 2nd Degree. He remains in custody on a $1 million bond, and is expected back in court on April 5. 

Assistant Superintendent David Ruhland said Friday that Howell "has subbed across the district in just about any configuration you can think of. As a certified teacher, he could sub in any classroom."

Howell's career in Farmington Schools came to a halt after a Hillside parent called principal Pam Green late in the day on March 19. Howell was immediately blocked from working in the district, according to a statement Superintendent Sue Zurvalec sent to parents on Friday.

Ruhland said any time an allegation is made, the district investigates. 

"If you're inclined to believe there was child abuse or neglect, the law requires you to notify (the Michigan Department of) Human Services and follow with a written complaint within 72 hours," he said. 

"With every issue, you don't automatically file a report," Ruhland added. "You just want to make sure there's some basis to it." The investigation is "weighted on the side of the child", he said.

Following a formal investigation, Farmington Hills Police arrested Howell on March 27.

As a substitute teacher, Howell was employed by Professional Educational Services Group (PSEG), a Michigan-based company that provides substitute staffing for school districts throughout Michigan and Indiana. The district began hiring through PSEG several years ago, to save on benefit costs, Ruhland said.

Employees of the agency are required to meet the same standards and undergo the same background checks as district employees do, Ruhland said. Howell also underwent background checks when he worked for the district. 

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