LEHMAN TWP. — Students Nick Albertson and Chad Grzesnikowski presented the Lake-Lehman School Board with a petition with 2,145 signatures to support ousted teacher Dave Hopfer on Monday.
Their goal was simple — show support for a respected teacher who was removed from school grounds and involved in a still-active investigation following a physical altercation with a male student on March 23.
The teacher, identified through the student-organized petition called “Save Mr. Hopfer’s Career,” began to circulate last week and quickly gained signatures from parents, students and alumni. State records show a David Hopfer was certified as an industrial arts teacher since 1992.
The two high school students presented the school board with the petition in front of a 25-member audience.
“We started this petition,” Grzesnikowski said. “We are not here to talk or to tell stories, but this is the number of people supporting him (Mr. Hopfer).”
The boys wanted the presentation to reflect Hopfer’s low-key nature.
“We wanted to handle it the way he (Hopfer) would have,” Albertson said. “We did not want to create a lot of drama. He would not have wanted that.”
Andrew Salko, president of the school board, and James McGovern, the superintendent of Lake-Lehman School District, accepted the petition.
“I admire the students’ initiative,” McGovern said.
But district officials remained silent on details surrounding the incident.
“It is a personnel issue for executive sessions,” McGovern said.
McGovern said the district’s investigation into the altercation has ended, and all information was given to Luzerne County Children and Youth Services for their investigation.
Albertson and Grzesnikowski described Hopfer as a “fantastic teacher.”
“One thing he (Hopfer) taught us is one mistake should not define a whole career,” Albertson said.
The next Lake-Lehman School Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. May 9 in the library at the Lake-Lehman Junior-Senior High School building.
Reach Eileen Godin at 570-991-6387 or on Twitter @TLNews.