School Board Moves Toward Firing Controversial Teacher

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AKRON-- The school board in Akron voted unanimously Monday night to pass a resolution of a 'notice of intent to consider termination' against David Spondike.

It was after trick-or-treat in his Copley neighborhood that the Firestone High School music teacher went off on Facebook about someone who urinated on the telephone pole in front of his house.

He used the n-word twice and closed by saying he isn’t racist.

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Immediately after seeing the posting, many parents were upset.

Superintendent David James admits he too was shocked. “Just disbelief," said Mr. James.

James said he was surprised again when Spondike then posted a video on YouTube in which he has a friend's son take the blame for the racist comment.

Spondike also posted another video in which he thanks all of supporters including his “friends in the black community.”

Here is what Spondike said in a letter given to the school board in November:

"I take full responsibility for the postings on Facebook which were done in a moment of anger and with unnecessary haste. Follow up postings were done in answer to responses that I received from the first posting. I take full responsibility for the language used and which has resulted in acrimonious comments from citizens in Akron. It is, however, my position that I have the right to use such language in explaining my feelings about the general state of the community in Akron. These remarks were in no way directed at the Akron School District or, to my knowledge, any person involved in the district.

In the matter of "conduct unbecoming a professional educator" I also consider this conduct as extremely serious and it should never have happened. In light however of the fact that it did happen I have sought professional counseling for anger management and other matters that may have caused the outburst on Facebook.

I regret that the media has become involved in this and have discontinued any further comment to any person, friend, family, radio station, TV station, newspaper or other news media as may be involved. The only person that I have spoken to regarding this matter and since your first letter is my attorney as named above and under the cloak of privilege.

I respectfully submit my response and ask the board to consider, with my attorney, an agreement to resolve this matter in a manner satisfactory to both parties."

As a result of Monday night’s meeting resolution, Spondike, 51, will immediately be placed on unpaid administrative leave starting Tuesday.

He has 10 days to file an appeal to be granted a hearing with an impartial referee and the school board.

If he fails to do that, his employment will be terminated.

The superintendent is looking forward to a resolution. He says the situation has created a huge disruption within the district due to all of the constant calls from parents and other citizens.

He wants to assure everyone that the matter has been taken very seriously, and that they will not allow anything that interferes with students getting a good education.

“Those comments have no place in a multicultural society. We’re trying to do the right thing for our kids and our families,” said Mr. James.

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