AKRON -- A Firestone High School teacher is on paid administrative leave while the Akron Public Schools investigate racist comments he allegedly put on his Facebook page.
Images of the alleged rant were shared among parents and WKYC viewers. One viewer emailed a screen capture image of the alleged comments to WKYC.
APS Spokesman Mark Williamson confirmed to Channel 3 News that David Spondike was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Parents and community members became outraged and reported a posting on Spondike's Facebook page that referred to African- American trick-or-treaters in his neighborhood by a racist slur, and the posting also said they come from the "ghetto."
Spondike's LinkedIn profile says he has been a teacher for the Akron Schools for 15 years. He teaches music theory, music history and orchestra.
Just after 1 p.m., Akron schools released the following statement:
"Akron Public Schools has put a veteran music teacher on paid, administrative leave as it now conducts an investigation into postings he made on Facebook. Fifty-one-year-old David Spondike posted comments on his personal Facebook page last evening following a night of trick or treating by children visiting his neighborhood. He has been employed by APS since August of 1998.
"His comments were unprofessional and unbecoming a teacher," said Superintendent David W. James. "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."
Spondike's racially insensitive 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.
His comments have been removed and his account deleted. Spondike did offer this, after removing the comments and prior to deleting his account, saying he was sorry "to those who are sincerely offended." He added that his comments on Facebook were directed at the teen who exposed himself in front of young children.
Channel 3 also obtained his personnel file, which details several reprimands. In March of 2007, he was accused of choking a student at Goodyear Middle School. Police and children services cleared him, saying it was unsubstantiated.
In February of 2001, a fellow teacher complained Spondike reprimanded him for "not doing anything to a student with very baggy pants." Spondike apologized to the teacher. Also that month, Spondike spit on the floor because a student fell asleep in his class. He was reprimanded.
In December of 2000, Spondike threw a chair across the room and yelled an expletive at students who made him angry. He was reprimanded.
But repeatedly he receives glowing evaluations for his teaching and work with students.
The Akron Schools will hold a hearing on this case, and the Akron Education Association is also investigating.