Teacher On Leave After ‘Racially Insensitive’ Facebook Post


David Spondike (Photo from Akron Schools)

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AKRON, Ohio -- A Firestone High School teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave by the district while it investigates "racially insensitive comments" allegedly posted on his Facebook page, school officials have confirmed.

According to a release from Akron Public Schools, veteran music teacher David Spondike, 51, posted the comments on his personal Facebook page Sunday night.

According to the release, the comments "appeared to reflect his anger over the actions taken by young people trick or treating and, according to his Facebook writings, urinating on or near his property and in front of his children."

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The district said Spondike's comments have since been removed, and his account has been deleted.

The release added that Spondike said he was sorry "to those who are sincerely offended." The district said Spondike added that his comments on Facebook "were directed at the teen who exposed himself in front of young children."

"His comments were unprofessional and unbecoming a teacher," Supt. David W. James said in the release. "Regardless of whether he was on his own time and own account doing this, he is a teacher and his actions influence children. This is serious."

James sat down with FOX 8's Kevin Freeman, and said, "I don't know what he was thinking at the time he made the post, but again our job is to investigate it and then issue the punishment accordingly. We asked him to write a statement on his view of this. He did apologize to the principal this morning; I know that."

"A child urinated on the post and I was just dumbfounded because he did it in front of everybody and there were no parents around, no parental supervision whatsoever," said a woman who identified herself as the nanny for Spondike's daughter. She told Fox 8 he wasn't home.

"He's an amazing teacher with an amazing record. He is one of the best teachers that Akron public schools has and this is just kids wanting to go off because they've got some type of vendetta against him," she said.

Akron schools provided FOX 8 with Spondike's personnel file. We were told he's been with the district since 1998. The file reveals that in 2001 he received a written reprimand for spitting on the floor during class because a student had fallen asleep and threw a chair in anger and cursed at the student.

Parents and students are angered by the Facebook post. "I really didn't like what he said, but I really don't think he deserves to be here anymore," said student, Andre Simmons.

"I don't like the fact that he has any part in the rearing of the children because of his racial, his biased racial undertones," said Simmons' aunt, Andrea Isis Smith.

"Just because we're black doesn't mean we're from the hood or came from the ghetto because I live right around the corner and my mom's doing very well for herself and I don't see myself as ghetto," said student, Raekwon Smith.

The school district will hold a hearing within the next week or so to determine what, if any punishment, Spondike will receive.

The superintendent also plans to forward the post to the Ohio Board of Education.

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