Teachers’ Union President Resigns over Facebook Controversy


Timothy Akers speaks during the school board meeting on Monday December 14th to announce his resignation. Courtesy photo from East Lansing Info

At the East Lansing Board of Education meeting on Monday, Dec. 14, Timothy Akers, an English teacher and coach at East Lansing High School, resigned from his position as president of the teachers’ union, the East Lansing Education Association (ELEA). 

“I’m going to step down as the ELEA president and resign my position effective January 19. It’s truly been my privilege and my pleasure to represent the interests of our teachers of the ELEA and to work towards strengthening the ELPS family,” Akers said in the meeting.

Akers stepped down due to the handling of an inflammatory Facebook post on the ELEA Facebook page on December 2. The post was deleted 2 days later.

Purple Post stating:Parents need to give up the fantasy that their kids making incredible academic progress this year is more important than people not dying. This is opportunity hoarding and vision that your own kid deserves to excel academically right now more than others deserve to live, have housing, eat. It's immoral and ignores the fact that we live in community with others.
A post that was posted on December 2nd and was been removed from the (now deleted) ELEA Facebook page on December 4th. This post struck up controversy among parents.

At the meeting, Akers took responsibility for the post and apologized to parents who had been offended.  “Please don’t let one ill-advised post tarnish the relationships you’ve established with your kids’ teachers, it’s vital to maintain those relationships to ensure success, especially right now,” Akers said.

He said he did not wish to censor the writer but he realized the delay in removing the post was wrong. “[not removing the post] put the reputation of the ELEA members at risk, a notion it’s hard for me to bear,” Akers said.

Since March tensions have been rising between the teachers’ union, parents, and school administrators over teacher safety as well as contract negotiations. In October, many parents were vocally critical of the teacher’s approach to online learning and the teachers’ unions’ advocacy against reopening.

Some parents of East Lansing Students took to Facebook to condemn the post and call for its removal. On the day of the post’s removal, Breitbart News wrote an article, which increased the controversy.

Akers posted an apology to the page a few days after the

A Facebook post from the East Lansing Education Association, it says "A meme was posted earlier this week that has caused a good deal or controversy. As it does not reflect the sentiment of the membership if the ELEA as a whole, it has since been removed and the issue has been addressed. Just as troubling as the meme, however has been removed and the issue has since been addressed. Just as troubling, however, has been the willingness of the community to cast a wide net over all of our hard working teachers and make assumptions about their attitudes, work ethic, and concern for our students' well being. I can assure you that the ELPS teachers are working hard to provide the pbes educational experience possible under the current circumstance. The ELEA would like to keep this page public so our leadership can interact with the community as a whole, so we request that you keep your comments and posts sivil. If you have specific concerns you would like to address, please contact me (Tim Akers) directly--- my phone number has alwas been posted publicly on this page, and I always welcome input. As Harry Truman said, "the buck stops here," so please refrain from contacting other members of the staff and direct all inquiries to me."
An apology for the post, which was posted on the ELEA Facebook.

post’s removal, encouraging people to look to him for concerns about the earlier post, a sentiment echoed in his resignation. He also defended teachers. “Just as troubling as the meme, however, has been the willingness of the community to cast a wide net over all our hard-working teachers,” he wrote. The entire Facebook page was taken down sometime that week. 

During the Board discussion, several members expressed support for his work, and sorrow at his departure, including School Board President Erin Graham. 

“He [Akers] was a tireless advocate on behalf of teachers and has been the entire time I’ve served on the board…I want to thank you, Tim, for your service and your advocacy on behalf of teachers,” Graham said. 

Akers declined Portrait’s invitation for further comment at the moment.


This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.

Last Updated Dec. 15 at 9:02 pm