Latin teacher leaves South

Adrian Doan '19, Supervising Editing at Large

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An incident that included yelling and drawers slamming occurred on October 11 in one of the Latin Rooms and ended with the police being called and former Latin Teacher Grant Schafer being escorted off school premises.

Before the incident, Schafer had expressed his desire to quit but was asked by the administration to stay on for two more weeks while they looked for a replacement, according to South Principal Moussa Hamka.

“The day before the incident, he tendered his resignation,” Hamka said. “As is customary with most places, you give the employer time to find some replacement.”

There seem to be multiple reasons for the resignation. This ranged from problems with Schafer’s long commute to him not fitting with what the school saw as appropriate teaching attitudes.

“We had several conversations with Schafer about our expectations here at South,” Hamka said. “We have received several complaints from parents about his sarcasm and political comments.”

Hamka noted that Schafer was a college professor and thus may not have been used to the appropriate conduct for a high school class. There were also issues on Schafer’s end.

“He lived far away from here and with some highways being closed, it was a long commute,” Hamka said. “He told us that this long commute was draining so he didn’t have the energy to teach and he was dialing behind in the course material.”

From the student’s perspectives, it seems Schafer was not prepared for the class or to teach the material, said Latin student Grayson Kennedy.

“He said he was a Harvard Graduate, but he did not really know anything,” Kennedy said. “On the day of the incident, all his inhibition went out the window; apparently he said he was the ‘God of Latin’ and the ‘smartest person in the school’.”

The incident itself occurred the day after Schafer had handed in his resignation. According to Kennedy, he was acting strangely as soon as the kids came in.

“Everyone was talking because there was no authority in the class, and then Schafer just ran out the door,” Kennedy said. “About five minutes pass and then he rushes back in.”

According to Hamka, the office started receiving complaints as students messaged their parents about Schafer’s erratic behavior, which caused them to take action.

“We went up to the classroom, simply to observe, not to confront him,” Hamka said. “He had a strong reaction to us being there. Spryszak asked him not to make a scene, but Schafer threw his keys at Spryszak.”

After what Hamka described as a meltdown, other administrators went to the classroom to escort Schafer off the property and the police were called. According to student Westin Bate ’19, a video circulated that day showing the confrontation between Spryszak and Schafer.

“Towards the end of the day, I saw a video of the Latin teacher throwing his keys and yelling ‘shut up’, Bate said.

The news spread fast, Bate said, and the administrators quickly released a letter summarizing the incident to students’ families. Their focus was then on finding a replacement quickly, which they succeeded in.

“We interviewed a good candidate who lives in and knows our community,” Hamka said. “We brought him in to teach a lesson and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. So we did hire him; his last name is Ludlow and he has been doing an excellent job.”

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