- Click here for an updated story: Suspended Northern Westchester Teacher Cries Foul To District Claims
A high school teacher who has taught local students for more than 30 years has been suspended without pay for showing a video the school district said had "inappropriate political and sexual content."
Michael Poplardo, who teaches at Fox Lake High School in Bedford, was suspended on Jan. 1 for one month for showing the film "Fox News: The Truth About Sex and College," to students last year.
"Ordinarily, when the Bedford Central School District disciplines an employee, we do not make public statements about it, out of respect for the employee’s privacy," the district said in a statement. "However, Michael Poplardo has chosen to make a public issue about his disciplinary proceeding, and he has made statements to students, parents, and others that have led to confusion and misunderstanding.:
The district said the video, which is 41 minutes long, contains "inappropriate sexual content and presents a one-sided, biased political viewpoint. The video argues that college policies against sexual harassment are used by feminist ideologues to manipulate female students into making false claims of rape, resulting in the unfair persecution of men."
The statement said the video is so graphic it includes a description of alleged anal rape and which begins with a warning notice.
The district said it had warned Poplardo in writing not to show videos with inappropriate political and sexual content.
"He chose to disregard those warnings," it said.
The district added that in deference to Poplardo’s long years of service, it offered him a settlement under which he would have paid a fine of approximately one week’s salary, and undergone training and counseling. The district said he refused, which sent the decision to a hearing officer who ordered the suspension.
Poplardo has filed court papers to try to overturn the decision of the independent hearing officer. These papers were filed after the legal deadline had already passed. The district will ask the court to dismiss the case, it said.
His suspension has not gone unnoticed by students or parents, which is why the district put out the statement. One student has started a GoFundMe account for the teacher to help him cover expenses for his month off and for legal costs.
"Both current and former students, however, were thankful for what they call, 'Mr. Pop's Stay Safe" lesson,' " the GoFundMe page says.
To date, the page has raised more than $3,000 of an $8,000 goal.
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