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.
Similar incidents occurred throughout the school year, according to the written reprimand dated June 7 and signed by assistant principal Myriah Lillie. "Most students reported that they felt threatened and unsure of what you would do," she wrote.
A day later, faced with an aggressive teacher-improvement plan, Bentivolio reached a settlement with the district and resigned.
He wrote on evaluations, reprimands and the teacher-improvement plan that the allegations against him were untrue and "politically motivated."
Bentivolio, a Milford Republican, tea party activist and farmer who raises reindeer for exhibitions in which he dresses as Santa Claus, became the beneficiary of U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter's colossal election screwup when he failed to qualify for the ballot because of fraudulent petition signatures. Bentivolio was left as the only Republican on the ballot and easily won the primary against write-in challenger Nancy Cassis, a former state senator from Novi.
He has complained bitterly that mainstream Republicans sought another candidate to run against him when he was left as the only name on the ballot. Among them was Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who said Bentivolio's views -- including turning border control over to the U.S. Marines -- were too extreme. After Bentivolio won the primary, Patterson said he'd support him for the November election.
Under his settlement with the school district, Bentivolio will be paid through the end of August and promises not to sue the district, its board of education or any district employee. The agreement also dictated that neither the school district, nor Bentivolio speak ill of one another and that Fowlerville Superintendent Richard Heinrich write him a letter of recommendation.
"I would not hesitate to recommend Mr. Bentivolio for any position for which he is applying," Heinrich wrote. "I would be happy to discuss Mr. Bentivolio's strengths and talents."
Heinrich said Tuesday that the settlement was drawn up at Bentivolio's request.
"These kinds of agreements are unique to each circumstance," Heinrich said, declining further comment.
Bentivolio's campaign manager, Robert Dindoffer, said the letter of recommendation speaks for itself and that Bentivolio left the district to pursue the congressional seat.
"It's obvious he left under pressure," she said. "This is not a typical resignation. When you have this kind of an agreement, it's because there's an issue brewing and the board wants to cut ties. Those kinds of agreements are entered into when there's a problem between and employee."
Bentivolio's other years in the school district were a mixed bag. He got good evaluations in 2004 and 2005, when he was a computer-aided design teacher.
"Mr. Bentivolio is an enthusiastic and creative individual who appears to thoroughly enjoy teaching," his 2004 evaluation stated. "He is a welcomed addition to the staff."
In 2005, his evaluation stated, "He demonstrates a sincere concern for the welfare of his students and maintains positive relationships with them."
By 2006, his evaluation was unsatisfactory, in part, because of repeated problems with some of his students.
"Mr. Bentivolio needs to examine his classroom methodology as to meet the needs of all students. He must also continue to strive for a greater degree of classroom management."
In a 15-page reply to the evaluation, Bentivolio complained of a group of students who were a constant disruption and who ultimately were removed from his class. "Four or five self-absorbed, spoiled brats does not a teacher destroy, nor will I permit it to do so," he wrote. "Nor will I permit it to tarnish my reputation."
But his teaching reputation did take a beating in the 2011-12 school year, after he had taken a leave to serve in the Michigan National Guard in 2007 and 2008 and received repeated layoff and recall notices in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He taught part-time in the 2010 school year.
In the June 7 reprimand, Lillie wrote that students said he often offered little or no lesson planning, that he accused students of getting into his grade book and changing grades and lost a 50-point assignment submitted by the students in one of his classes. They also accused him of talking "constantly in class about political stuff and his war service."
Administration officials met with Bentivolio on May 9 to talk about the issues and complaints received from students and parents, "but you refused to answer administration or offer any explanations for these complaints," the reprimand letter said.
Bentivolio will face Democrat Dr. Syed Taj, a Canton trustee in the Nov. 6 general election. He also will appear -- with four other Republicans -- on a Sept. 5 special primary election ballot to fill the remaining six weeks of McCotter's congressional term.
The winner of that special primary, between Bentivolio, Cassis and Livonia Republicans Kenneth Crider, Steve King and Carolyn Kavanagh -- will face Democrat David Curson of Belleville in the special Nov. 6 election to fill the rest of McCotter's term.
Original article on Detroit Free Press