Newberry H.S. Teacher Placed On Leave Following Knife Incident, Community Fights to Save His Job

A high school teacher in the Upper Peninsula is on administrative leave, the superintendent says he broke school rules when he held a knife in his classroom and pointed it at students.

Despite the incident, the Tahquamenon area community seems to be siding with the teacher and pushing for him to keep his job.

Bumper stickers that read “Save Puckett” are being handed out in Newberry.

It’s for the teacher, Jeff Puckett. The community is rallying behind him, they say he’s a pivotal part of Newberry.

“He just seems to really reach his students,” Penny Obey, said.

Penny has a student in one of Puckett’s classes.

Hundreds of supporters are fighting for the longtime Newberry science teacher to keep his job

“Mr. Puckett has been here for such a long time and we just don’t want to lose one of our great teachers, as somebody who can relate to the students,” Penny, added.

Puckett has been on administrative leave for a week.

In a letter addressed to parents, Tahquamenon Area Schools Superintendent Stacy Price said an investigation showed the teacher was holding onto a knife while going over the class rules, going so far as to point it at students and later throwing it, in an attempt to stick it in his desk.

Superintendent Price said the incident was unprofessional and not something they take lightly.

Former students of his say he does this every year and it’s never meant to be harmful.

“It’s more a dramatization, more along the lines of Hamlet than it is any type of offensive thing that one really sees, I think its blown epically out of proportion,” Former Student AJ Downey, said.

AJ and hundreds of others think if he’s let go it will leave a hole in the community.

“It would be a tragic loss for the school district and the town itself if Jeff stopped teaching here. He’s one of those amazing individuals that are irreplaceable,” Downey, explained.

His supporters plan on making their voices heard at the next school board meeting.

We reached out to Superintendent Stacy Price for comment but have not heard back.

The board is scheduled to meet Monday September, 18th.