A suspended Akron school teacher has reversed his public denials and is now admitting he wrote racist Halloween rants on his Facebook page.
Firestone High School music teacher David Spondike made the admission Thursday in a letter to school officials. He also said he has sought counseling for anger management in the hopes of one day returning to the classroom.
In the same letter, Spondike, 51, goes on to defend his right to make the racial slurs, contending they were written off school time.
The letter notified the district that he was opting out of an investigative hearing process scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Spondike remains on paid leave pending an investigation into the matter. A termination hearing is set for Dec. 2. A recommendation from that hearing will be considered by the Akron School Board.
“I take full responsibility for the postings on Facebook which were done in a moment of anger and with unnecessary haste,” he wrote. “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.”
Spondike has declined to comment on the case and has referred reporters to his attorney, Patricia Arcaro-Brown, who declined to comment Thursday.
Spondike’s Oct. 27-28 Facebook page posts and replies used the n-word and contained other inflammatory racial comments, which he made after he said he witnessed a black teen urinating outside his Copley Township home on the day the township held its treat-or-treating.
The posts were copied that night and anonymously sent to school officials and the media the following morning. Spondike was removed from the classroom Oct. 28.
Five days later, Spondike went on YouTube and denied writing the posts. Spondike indicated that the son of a family friend had accessed his Facebook page without his knowledge and had posted the comments.
In other videos, Spondike criticized the media for “lying” to the public and failing to get his side of the story. He also told viewers he was not racist and had many black friends.
Despite Spondike’s new public admissions of writing the rant, Timothy Herron, the teacher’s friend who helped produce the videos and acted as an interviewer, insisted on Thursday that his 19-year-old son, Alexander, wrote the original post.
During the interview, Herron said he was unaware of Spondike’s admissions or the letter he sent to the district.
“Why would he do that? He’s got a [lousy] attorney,” Herron said in a phone interview. “The truth is [Spondike] didn’t write them. I don’t even know what he’s talking about. I haven’t heard from him in two weeks. He got an attorney and he clammed up.”
Herron said he learned from his son on Oct. 28 that the teen wrote the post. Herron, however, conceded he didn’t actually see his son write the post. He also denied that the videos were contrived in an effort to deflect Spondike’s responsibility and save the teacher’s job.
“Right now, you’ve caught me off guard with the fact that David is saying he wrote this stuff,” Herron said. “I don’t why he would do that.”