As the leaves fell from a tree outside my kitchen window revealing the intent of an autumn afternoon I could see through the piles of salacious emails, official complaints, correspondence with Columbus that I was looking into the eyes of a man whose spirit had seen it’s autumn months ago. He had exhausted every means necessary to find a resolution and had been told by the Ohio Department of Education that there was nothing they could do, so they sent him back to the Lakota School Board which was a dead-end. The general opinion of everyone involved from the top to the bottom was, “You’re wife had sex with a teacher at Lakota. It’s sex among consenting adults.” (See for yourself the document sent to the man on the very day that we spoke. What follows is an abridged version of his story as he told it. In this article the names will be hidden to protect the little girl involved, because it’s not so much the names, but the behavior that I find insidious.)
The rationalization that this story is just about sex among consenting adults is not quite so simple. Such an explanation is easy to explain away if the goal is to shove it under a rug. A Lakota teacher recently divorced and looking for love, even though his girlfriend is a Lakota teacher at the time also sees that the mother of one of his students is “hot,” so he befriends the little girl’s mother in this simulation which is greatly compressed for this purpose:
“You look tired,” Mr. Predator says to a little girl in his high school class.
“Yes, my mom and dad are……….having trouble,” says the little girl.
“Oh, that can be so hard on the kids. I’m sorry to hear about that.”
The little girl looks up at Mr. Predator. “Thanks.”
Mr. Predator puts his hands on the shoulder of the little girl. “Any time you need Mr. Predator, just let me know.”
Mr. Predator then proceeds to find reasons to deal exclusively with the little girl and manages to use her to arrange conferences with her mother.
“I can see that you are having difficulty in class. Will you give your mother my email address here at the school and tell her I’d like to speak with her about getting you some help?”
The little girl looks up at Mr. Predator bright-eyed and grateful. “Yes, thank you for all your help.”
The little girl goes home and gives her mother the email address to Mr. Predator.
Soon the mother contacts Mr. Predator and they are exchanging frequent emails. The mother angry at her husband over marital difficulties finds the divorcee Mr. Predator’s flirtatious advances inviting and soon Mr. Predator is sending emails to the mother such as, “You are a hot little cougar.”
The two eventually get together and engage in a sexual encounter. Soon thereafter, the relationship regresses and the mother tells her husband what has happened.
Mr. Predator goes up to the little girl, “You look tired.”
“Mommy and Daddy were fighting. It was awful.”
“Oh,” says Mr. Predator. “I’m so sorry to hear such a thing. That’s really hard on the kids. What were they fighting about?”
The little girl looks up at her teacher. “They were fighting about you, Mr. Predator.”
Mr. Predator pretends to be shocked. But the little girl isn’t done. “Mr. Predator, why did you write in my planner that it was your birthday, and for me to get you an expensive present? I don’t have any money. My daddy thinks you wrote that for mommy to see.”
The couple resolved their differences and came to terms with the marital difficulties they had been experiencing, and once the smoke cleared they assessed with a fresh perspective the folly of their circumstances.
“How did you meet him?” asks the father.
“Through our daughter, it’s Mr. Predator. He is her teacher. He said she needed ‘extra’ help.”
“So he was using our kid to actually get to you,” the father says bluntly.
“Yes, I suppose so,” says the mother.
So the father goes to the school and demands to speak with the principal, who is Mr. Predator’s boss. This guy’s name is Mr. Future Superintendent. Principal Future Superintendent is very uncomfortable with this knowledge so he seeks to put a lid on this story quickly. After all, he doesn’t need a scandal to break out in his school that would make him look bad. Sex with students is bad enough. But sex with student’s parents is getting into dicey water that can get really complicated, especially when it looks as if one of his teachers purposely used one of his students to create a relationship with the woman. The angry father has a stack of email correspondence sent from a Lakota school computer and demands to know why a teacher was allowed to use a student from his class as a platform to seduce his wife!
This isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. There are 18,000 students and almost twice that in parents. And Lakota employees over 2000 people, all adults, so there is bound to be some mixing and meshing going on between consenting adults. So there isn’t much sympathy given to the father. Mr. Future Superintendent tells the father that the teacher Mr. Predator is being put on administrative leave as an investigation is initiated. Temporarily satisfied the father leaves the situation to the Principal to deal with. So Mr. Future Superintendent calls in the mother along with a witness and they let the mother know that if the mother and father wish to pursue this case that it will be very embarrassing to their family. The mother, being a respected member of the community will have it known to all the contents of her emails to the teacher and will have to live up to that embarrassment. After the mother leaves, a file is sent to the Board of Education which will haunt the case later. The mother, not wanting to be embarrassed by the case at that time allowed herself to be out maneuvered by the principal who is in serious protection mode at this point and looking to shut down this case to protect the image of the school.
When the father learns that the teacher Mr. Predator has simply been moved to a different school he goes to the school board for help where Joan Powell takes an interest and reveals that there have been other problems at this particular school and that there wasn’t much she could do about it. This shocked the father. “Doesn’t the school board have any power to help with this?”
So the father turned to Ron Spurlock, who genuinely tried to help with the situation. Being the assistant superintendent, his hands were tied also. So when the new superintendent was hired in Mrs. Mantia, the father tried to get a straight answer out of her. “Again, there isn’t anything we can do. It’s consenting adults.”
“Don’t you people have control over your employees?” the father pleaded.
“Do I need legal counsel?”
“I’m not talking about legal counsel,” the father said. “I just want someone to take responsibility for something.”
Below you can see the letter the man wrote to the school board asking that those questions about his situation be answered by the board. They ignored him. The answers were never answered. Instead the rationalization was, “Your wife participated and is equally culpable.”
So let’s put things in perspective, because this isn’t the only issue of this kind of thing that has went on, and the behavior patterns are eerily similar to the Stacy Schuler incident over in Mason where many parents and students complained about the behavior of that particular teacher, and administrators before anything was done about it. The first reaction from the administrations in both cases is to go into protection mode, to seek legal counsel and discover if they are in fact wrong by law. At Lakota when Ryan Fahrenkemp from Endeavor Elementary during the spring of 2010 was caught engaging in child porn with students it took a FBI investigation to break the story open. Administrators only acted on the story when a parent had text message evidence and the story could not be shoved under the rug by then. The rug seems to always be the first option in these public schools. Some of the child porn pictures dated back to 2008. Fahrenkemp was finally caught in 2010 two years later, and he was caught by a parent.
The reason this father came to me was because socially, the world doesn’t seem to understand what the crime is. Progressive politics have eroded our value system so much, that the people in charge don’t seem to understand the nature of reality any longer. Public school in particular tends to over-react on all the wrong things and under-react on all the important things. And if schools exist to teach the children aspects of life, then what are we teaching them, because let me tell you, the kids know what’s going on. The kids know who’s having sex with whom even among the teachers. They know when a principal covers up a story. They are watching, and depending on the behavior of the adults around them they will pick up that behavior as part of their essential characters.
Public schools are too concerned with legalisms when they should be concerned about community values. I have watched and seen many people like this father get isolated as a “trouble-maker” by administration officials and turned into a radical in the courts of legal perception. “Mr. Father, you don’t have a case. Your wife engaged in a relationship with our teacher.”
“But the teacher used our child to start the relationship, at school. My wife was vulnerable and because of my child being in Mr. Predator’s class, he learned about that vulnerability. He sent home messages to contact my wife and lure her into his arms. He seduced her and he used my child to do it!”
Blank stares from the administration. “Mr. Father, we are very sorry but there is nothing we can do.”
The father is frustrated that all any of the administrators are concerned with is covering their asses. “Are you happy knowing you have an employee who has these behavioral tendencies still on your payroll?”
More blank looks……………………………………………………….crickets…………………….
Behavioral tendencies are those nasty little things that indicate a person is prone to trouble. In this case once Mr. Predator had been suspended for the investigation he was simply moved to another high school. Without clamping down on the behavior, the teacher was simply told, “watch out, keep things on the down low. This father is out to get you.”
As I listened to this man tell his story I wondered how many families in West Chester and Liberty Twp are in a similar situation as this couple. They are both business professionals who must travel frequently, which puts stress on any marriage. They often have children in the district, which is a stress onto itself. So many young professional married couples do have rocky roads in their lives. In fact, I would say any marriage is prone to seductions by parties outside the marriage. Those seductions need to be guarded against by the couple themselves.They need to look out for each other and remind their spouses what the dangers are based on the other people who populate their social lives outside the family.
This is why wives should not typically go to night clubs with their girlfriends, because going to such places are an advertisement that you are on the market and looking. Men should not do the same, because in so doing, they are inviting opportunities for sexual relations outside of the sanctity of their marriage. The same holds true for a man taking a female friend to a social event, or out for lunch. Most of the time, probably 80% of the time, the man is searching for an opportunity to have some sort of sexual relationship with a woman using such activities as the introductory platform. The married couple must navigate those activities carefully and among themselves without social interference.
A married couple, especially a professional couple must listen to each other discuss their work because in the workplace there are bound to be sexual rivals. The man must listen to what types of people are in his wife’s life and he must guard himself against their intentions with her by tending to her needs based on what she says. The woman must ask what kind of women are in her husband’s business life, because they are all potential threats to a marriage in the form of sexual competition, if the man feels he’s not getting from his wife what he needs. Biology does not care about the moral obligations of the mind and heart. Biology simply wants to do its thing, so maintenance of these conditions are part of a marriage and I would say well over half of all the adult population within the Lakota School District are prone to such things.
But teachers in our culture are accepted, and sold as neutral characters. Most of us view teachers as sages of wisdom and we want to let our guard down around them. The schools are in our communities, and we view them as safe havens. This is why we typically throw a lot of money at these institutions, because we want them to remain safe, and neutral, and we wish to purchase that assurance with our money. We want to be able to go to a band concert for our child and watch them without being on our guard from that newly divorced teacher standing over in the corner who wants to sleep with our spouse. We don’t want to see our husbands run off with the new 25-year-old woman right out of college because she taught our child to read! And in the parent/teacher conferences we don’t need to learn too late that something sparkled in the young teacher between your husband and her love of your child, for such thoughts do cross the minds of women, “I could be a better mother for that child than you. I have come to love that child and I could have her if only I took away your husband.” The young teacher may think such things, but she has a moral obligation to uphold that higher moral order, even if she has the power of sexuality to use as a weapon at her disposal.
Oh, don’t even attempt it administrators who are reading this…….such laws are not in your handbook, they are simply implied. You are supposed to know these things upon entering adulthood. Your lawyers will not be able to counsel you on such things, so don’t even try. You either know it or you don’t. The legal world frowns on these types of assertions, because they did not write those laws. Those ethical laws come from 10,000 years of social order of what works and doesn’t work in social interaction. You’re silly laws do not apply to these types of violations and are your total focus. Lawsuits, pandering and politics are your way. We’re talking about something here of which you are not qualified to speak! So surrender to your ignorance.
And the teacher who seduced this man’s wife knew what he was doing, and he crossed the line knowing he would get away with it. It’s an arrogance that we see all too common in this “education class,” who live in a bubble we call public education. Stacy Schuler acted with arrogance toward reckless behavior because of that culture. Her boss George Coates did the same. In fact administrators in Mason allegedly made a habit of collecting cell phones from students and locking themselves in their offices with their pants down around their ankles looking for pictures of their students “sexting” to their boyfriends and girlfriends hoping to see what some of those girls walking down the hall looked like topless. Apparently George was one of these guys and it gave him the idea to send Ms. Schuler pictures of his “junk” when he learned she was hot to trot and ready for some action. That was his reaction when he found out Stacy was having trouble. Did he try to help her? No. He sought to take advantage of the situation for his own selfish gain, and to me the behavior is no different from the Lakota teacher looking for love in all the wrong places, among his student’s parents.
At Lakota I heard the same thing from this father. The school went into protection mode, sought out ways to make the wife appear as a slut so they could embarrass her to the community to protect their own interests. And they have attempted to paint the father as a radical nut job because he’s upset he let his guard down at his child’s school. Of all places he didn’t consider a threat to his marriage coming from their child’s school. It’s a similar betrayal one might feel if their wife or child became sexually involved with a priest at church. The teacher and the priest are supposed to be functioning above that animalistic behavior. And when they do stoop so low, we feel betrayed.
I don’t expect such things however. I have learned that all these institutional authority figures are simply employees, and I view them as such. I put no merit into the unsaid attributes of position worship. All I care about is whether or not Lakota is Excellent with Distinction, and if the current employees can’t get the job done. If not I’d be prepared to terminate them all and replace them with people who can. If they want to be well paid, they better earn it. The teacher who seduced this man’s wife is on my list of the top 625. He’s actually toward the bottom of that list, while the principal who was involved is near the top. I personally expect much higher behavior from these employees for what we pay them.
And that’s the real issue. When it comes to professionals there is a code of conduct that goes unsaid with increased pay scales. People who make more money know how to manage their lives properly. They may engage in extramarital affairs, but even those are managed. When you artificially prop up low quality people with collective bargaining, what you get is behavior like this, reckless, unappreciative, salacious conduct by people who create artificial protective classes for themselves. They believe the rules of society do not apply to them because they are a protected class.
So here’s the deal Lakota. Yes, you are expected to be an Excellent with Distinction district. You are not allowed to go backwards. But in regard to your role in the community, you do not live in a bubble. Those of us on the outside world do not feed you millions of dollars of money to isolate yourselves into an “Education Class.” And in that “Education Class,” you do not have a right to our women, our men and especially our children in a sexual context. If you want to meet members of the community for sex, do it at the appropriate places to meet such people, but the classroom is off-limits. And if you don’t understand that basic concept you don’t need to be employed at Lakota.
As I was looking at a Move Forward Lakota Levy sign at a traffic light where the people who placed it stuck it directly in front of one of our No Lakota Levy signs so people couldn’t see our sign, I had to laugh at the behavior. It was symbolic of many of the problems discussed here, were parents put on blinders to the behavior of a school in a belief that they will get an excellent product if they simply toss money at it. But Lakota seems to have an administrative tendency whether it is the story of this father upset that a Lakota teacher seduced his wife through his child within his classroom, or Ryan Fahrenkemp taking pictures of the kids in his classroom on a field trip in states of undress, or even the golfer who committed suicide. The alarm flags were up but nobody acted. The tendency of the administration at Lakota is to MOVE FORWARD, there is nothing to see here.
See the golfer story here:
See the Fahrenkemp story here where he pleads guilty of child porn:
Oh, was that a low blow. No, it wasn’t. Public schools sell themselves as valuable assets to the community, and Lakota just over the three stories mentioned above has not had a good record. They will say, “Hey, we have a lot of students, bad things happen when lots of employees and lots of students interact.” But that is no different from the airline pilot saying, “I just crashed one time in 300 flights. I only lost 150 people out of the tens of thousands I’ve flown.” When you sell a service, you are expected to live up to those expectations and not go into protection mode and participate in legalisms at the first sign of trouble. If Lakota did that, they might actually solve problems before they escalate out of control and not have to rely on a campaign slogan of “Move Forward,” give us money today so we can be good tomorrow.
It’s wonderful that even with all these errors Lakota is still such a highly respected school but it could also be said that the other schools are just worse in varying degrees. But that’s not enough. As a community we expect you to behave at a higher ethical standard and at the very least, to keep your teachers from seducing our spouses in parent/teacher conferences. And when it happens, get rid of the teacher and don’t demonize the poor parents. It’s tough enough to put a marriage back together again after an incident like that, but have a little respect for the institution of a family. And certainly don’t make him feel like his only outlet for justice is to go to the Ohio Board of Education. For God sakes, if you can’t handle a simple little problem that is as cut and dry as improper behavior between a teacher and the parents of the students, then it will be impossible to expect a school to deal with any real problems. And drop the Move Forward Lakota idea. It’s tasteless as a campaign slogan. Deal with the problems you have. Don’t attempt to spend more money to MOVE FORWARD and forget about all the mistakes made in the past, even if that past is only inches deep. Learn from those mistakes and get even better, and do it by spending less money.
For those who read this and are angered by it, too bad. I expect more out of the employees of this district, and I don’t like hearing these kinds of stories. I don’t like it when it happens in other school systems, but it’s not acceptable in my community. Such things are more embarrassing to public perception than a failed school levy. Because these types of actions show what you are really about, not just the glitter that money buys you.
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