A seventh-grade teacher and high school basketball coach in the Detroit Public Schools is facing a charge he had about 100 grams of heroin in his vehicle when he was pulled over in western Michigan late last month.
Robert Hatchett Jr., 40, of Southfield was scheduled to appear for a preliminary examination this morning before Battle Creek District Judge John Hallacy, but the hearing was adjourned.
Hatchett previously pleaded not guilty to the charge of possessing 50-449 grams of a controlled substance. He was arrested Jan. 26.
The school district put Hatchett on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation, said district spokesman Steven Wasko.
Hatchett was escorted from Paul Robeson Academy on the city’s west side around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday by DPS officials. He is a highly regarded seventh-grade math teacher and was in his first year as coach of Central High School’s basketball team, which had a playoff game Tuesday night.
Central lost to Crockett High in Tuesday night’s playoff game, 74-52, according to DPS.
Steven McGhee, principal at Central High, said he was shocked at the news of the suspension.
“I never would have suspected anything,” McGhee said. “He’s a teacher, certified, highly qualified educator.”
Michigan State Police said a trooper pulled Hatchett over on westbound I-94 near mile marker 115 in Calhoun County’s Marengo Township for an unspecified traffic violation. Police said Hatchett, who was alone, had nearly $23,000 in cash in the 2003 GMC Yukon he was driving.
Hatchett’s lawyer, Mark Kriger, declined comment today.
Wasko said: “While this is still the subject of investigation that will run its full course, if any employee, especially one in such close contact with children on a daily basis, is found to have been involved in illegal enterprises, we will always have zero tolerance for such activity.”