Kent school officials remain silent about teacher’s resignation

David Yochum

Students and teachers’ union speak their minds

While Kent City School administrators declined comment over the resignation of part-time math teacher Melissa Hospodor, some students and faculty are coming to her defense.

Hospodor, 27, of Kent and a 2004 graduate of Kent State, resigned after Theodore Roosevelt High School students and parents became aware of the teacher’s MySpace profile. The page allegedly contained references to drinking and drugs. However, students who have been taught by Hospodor said information on her profile was taken out of context and the teacher did nothing wrong.

“She had one drink and one cigar to celebrate her new house,” said Jeff Moore, 17, of Kent. “I had her for two months — she was a nice lady. I’d talk to her about my parents and everything. I think she was pressured to resign.”

Courtney Erickson, 16, of Kent, also believes Hospodor was pressured to resign, but painted the teacher in a similar light.

“She was down-to-earth,” Erickson said. “She joked with us — talked about ‘Family Guy’ after we were done with our work. What she does in her off time shouldn’t be held against her unless she brings it to work. Besides, we all have MySpace accounts.”

Despite student reaction and alleged discrepancies in a Record-Courier story published Wednesday, Kent City School superintendent Marc Crail and Theodore Roosevelt principals are not commenting further on the matter.

Mike Walton, Kent Education Association president, said the Record-Courier‘s report of Hospodor’s drug use was inaccurate, and the whole situation shouldn’t have been a big deal.

“She was a first-year, part-time teacher who taught three classes in the morning because we had a bump in enrollment,” Walton said. “If this was a tenured teacher, it would be a different ballgame.”

Walton added that Hospodor will be moved into a tutoring position until her resignation becomes effective at the end of the year.

Tiffany Stoker, 17, of Kent, said Hospodor’s resignation has been mentioned in all her classes and that teachers are allowing for open dialogue on the subject.

However, one reaction has been consistent.

“People are surprised,” Stoker said. “Nothing like this has ever happened here.”

Contact public affairs reporter David Yochum at [email protected].