Posted: Aug 12, 2011 10:42 PM by Matt Stafford
Updated: Aug 13, 2011 5:38 AM
Falcon High School Spanish teacher Brian Rappatta was put on suspension earlier this week for what District 49 is calling inappropriate comments he made in the classroom.
"It was students in the classroom that initially brought the concern, and then the Principal did hear from parents," says Stephanie Meredith, a spokesperson for District 49.
NF5 was able to get a hold of Rappatta over the phone, but it was a short conversation. He said he can't talk to media right now, in a written message to News First 5.
"I am not prepared to talk to the media at this time without proper advisement and/or legal representation. I will contact you should my circumstances change."
NF5 is finding out more about Rappatta; he's listed as the author of three books -- all of which he links on his Facebook page. Online descriptions for two of the books say they cover topics like high school kids contemplating suicide and sex. On an Amazon.com message board, a thread for authors discussing what they do as a day job has a post from a "Brian R" saying:
"I'm a boring old high school Spanish teacher by day. I like to think my students and colleagues would be horrified if they read my books or stories. :)"
The post is signed at the end, Brian Rappatta.
Without commenting on Rappatta's writings directly, District 49 says they will be doing a thorough investigating to see if Rappatta is fit to be in the classroom.
"Our staff members know that they are representing Falcon School District when they're in the classroom and when they are outside of the classroom," says Meredith. "Regardless of the situation, they're expected to be holding up that high standard and that's really what we convey to all of our staff."
Meredith says they hope to finish this investigation quickly so they can get everything in order for Rappatta's Spanish classes. They say it's still very early in the school year, so this hasn't been as big of a disruption as it could have.
Rappatta isn't facing any criminal charges, but District 49 officials say if they find evidence of criminal activity they will turn that information over to authorities. For now he's suspended -- with pay -- throughout the District's investigation.