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Follow up to the situation regarding former EHMS Teacher, Derek Spitzer

The Park City School District issued a second release on former teacher Derek Spitzer, who was fired for inappropriate communications with a student and taken into police custody. You can download the press release here, or read the contents below:

Follow up to the situation regarding former EHMS Teacher, Derek Spitzer

What can we do to prevent future inappropriate email interactions?

The Park City School District uses Google as our email provider. A technology review is in process and PCSD is currently testing a Google product that will allow keyword filtering which in turn will alert us if/when there is inappropriate content. Additionally, Park City School District is currently working with Barracuda Network (the district archiver) to investigate the level of controls that might be available as the information is being sent and/or archived.

In addition, the district wants to reinforce that students need to be reminded, they are a first line of defense and that contacting a trusted adult if they receive “any” information that makes them feel uncomfortable is important in combating this issue. We have also provided services through our counseling department. Counselors and teachers read a prepared statement regarding the recent incident at Ecker Hill to EHMS, PCHS and TMJH Students over the last three days.

The following information was shared:
Facts about Mr. Spitzer-

  • He was a music teacher at Ecker dismissed from his job earlier this month.
    • He taught at different schools in the Park City School District over the last 12 years.
    • He was arrested for inappropriate electronic communication with a student.
    • He used his position as a teacher in an unacceptable way to deceive a student.
  • The student was very brave and courageous. The student did exactly what they had been taught to do.
  • Out of respect for the student, there willbe no speculation as to who the student is.
  • Students are to discuss details of the allegations with parents and not here at school.
  • No one ever wants to be named or the subject of a rumor. Even if joking, these statements can be hurtful to students and can be considered harassment. They may also discourage students coming forward now and in the future.
  • If there is something the school needs to know, please inform the school right away.
  • Students should trust their instincts and keep open communication with trusted adults
  • Tell a trusted adult, if they don’t listen tell another trusted adult. “It doesn’t stop until you tell.”
  • Remember the information and skills that have been taught by parents and counselors through the elementary years.
  • Students will be asked to imagine if they were the one that had been taken advantage of by a teacher this way and were in this student’s place. Think about what they would be going through and what this student might be going through. Think about what it would feel like to hear their name in rumors.
  • There are extra counselors available if anyone needs to talk to one.

Please mark April 21, 2016 on your calendars as the district will be hosting Detective Christina Sally from the Summit County Children’s Justice Center to discuss what parents can do to be involved in conversation with their children and adolescents regarding keeping themselves safe. In addition, PCSD will have an update to technology filters and future prevention. The meeting is scheduled for the lecture hall at Park City High School at 6:00 PM


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