Update: A referee upheld Spondike's dismissal this week. Via the ABJ:
The Akron Public School Board on Monday voted unanimously to accept a referee’s decision that terminates the employment of David Spondike.
The 18-page decision found that Spondike’s Facebook posting last October in which he repeatedly used the N-word violated the district’s staff conduct and social media policies.
The referee’s ruling upholds an earlier decision by school board members to fire Spondike.
“It’s an unfortunate incident and we’re happy to put it behind us,” said board President Lisa Mansfield.
On October 28, we brought you the story of the racist Facebook rant written by David Spondike, a music teacher at Akron's Firestone High School.
Spondike was angry about an apparent trick-or-treat incident near his house and dropped multiple n-bombs in a Facebook rant aimed at a black teenager:
I don't mind if you come to my neighborhood from the ghetto to trick-or-treat. But when you whip out your teeny dicks and piss on the telephone pole in front of my yard and a bunch of preschoolers and toddlers, you can take your nigger-ass back where it came from. I don't have anything against anyone of any color, but niggers, stay out!
That post was screencapped by someone, sent to local media outlets, and eventually became a national story. He was pretty quickly put on paid administrative leave, and then put out several extremely bizarre Youtube videos with an unnamed person essentially acting like a lawyer denying he ever wrote the post, and had a biracial teenager claim responsibility for it (those videos are below) all while bashing the media for not getting the story right. It was weird. Here's a Nov. 7 WKYC segment on the story and the videos up to that point.
Well, today, David Spondike finally admitted he wrote the posts. He was due for a hearing the district had set for today, but he opted out and instead wrote this letter to the hearing committee that the district publicly released earlier today (emphasis ours):
RE: Investigatory Meeting
November 21 , 2013
I am in receipt of your letter regarding the Investigatory Hearing originally scheduled for November 14, 2013 and the charges attached thereto. In concurrence with my attorney Patricia Arcaro-Brown and the Akron School District and in lieu of the meeting on November 21, 2013
I am writing a response and statement of the facts as they appear to me and as stated and alleged in your letter to me dated November 8, 2013. My attorney and I thank the district for making this course of action available to us.
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.
David Spondike, PhD
Spondike explained himself eventually, sort of, about his Facebook post. He at least took responsibility. However, he should have some more questions to answer about these insane Youtube videos he put out with the lawyer (I have no idea if he's a lawyer, but he's acting like a sleezebag lawyer trying to win a case, so I'll refer to him as one) denying he ever wrote it. These videos are crazy, even if what was said in them happened to be true.
The admission that he wrote post means that he actually had to find someone to take the fall for him, and they trotted out a biracial teenager in front of the camera and told him to say even more racist things to make it seem plausible the teen was the one who logged on to Spondike's Facebook account to make the post. They exploited him and tried to show that with this kid's upbringing, being full of hate towards black people and writing the post on Spondike's account was impossible to avoid.
Watch that first video below. Fifty seconds in, the lawyer has the big reveal: Spondike didn't write it. One minute in, they trot out the teen they signed up to take the fall. He unapologetically says he wrote it on Spondike's Facebook, calls the black kid a "niglet" and then gives a (likely scripted, definitely overacted, and now proven to be false) passionate defense for why he did it and how he has no remorse for it. The lawyer concludes the video talking to Spondike, blasting "the media" for irresponsibility: "so you're labeled a racist — you've done all these terrible things, supposedly, and those are lies as we will comment later on." He turns to the camera to talk to the viewers: "basically the news media is lying to you. If you're watching the news, they lie to you. They don't lie to you a little bit, they lie to you a lot, and we're here to prove it. And now you know the truth of that story, we're going to go on."
Spondike is not in the second video ("David Spondike's Racent Rant Author Speaks"); it's just the lawyer and the teen taking the fall for the clip: "this time, I'm with the individual who wrote the post that Dr. David Spondike is getting in so much trouble for." He prods the teen about his use of racial slurs, and the teen rambles on about why he so often casually uses them ("they're less of human beings," he said). The lawyer looks at the camera: "before you guys start again — throwing around how terrible of a human being he is — you gotta understand the way he was raised. He can't entirely help the way he was raised, in fact no human being can. He's gotta over come it, but he hasn't been out of that environment too long." He looks back to the teen: "your mother, what did she call you?" "A nigger," he responds. "What did your grandmother call you?" "Nigger." "Uhh, what did they call black people?" "Niggers." "Pretty much all black people, correct?" "Niggers and worthless pieces of shit, yeah." A few moments later, the lawyer looks back to the camera: "His mother went on national TV on a talk show — not a talk show, some show — and declared her hatred of black people, said that they were untrustworthy, unclean, dirty, worthless people. And so it's not like that's news to anybody that he was raised that way, but it's unfortunate that he has this in his vocabulary." The lawyer then chides him for writing the Facebook post and not feeling bad about it. Watch it here.
To me, Spondike's creation of these denial videos is significantly more shameful than his Facebook posts. His original rant only made himself look like an idiot. But to try to fix that, he recruited a kid to go down for him instead. The rant was just words he wrote without thinking they would be public; words that revealed a terrible sentiment for a teacher (or a thinking human) to have, sure, but it only took himself down. The videos, however, were deliberate and planned to publicly degrade a teenage kid to cover for his own mistakes.
Now that Spondike admitted to the Facebook rant, it's time for him to come clean on this: who is the kid and how did you get him to take the fall for you?
David Spondike was a high school teacher in a predominantly black school. But he's a blatant racist, a blatant liar, and willing to sell-out a kid for his own benefit. Good riddance.