Supporting Spencer

Straying from its usual audience, January 17’s district board meeting was chock full of protesters. Holding signs proclaiming, “Equal treatment for all teachers” and “Hall of fame Spencer, hall of shame FHSD,” they spoke in front of the FHSD board for 30 minutes. This time was spent relaying grievances to the district concerning its reaction to the circumstances in which Mr. Bryan Spencer of Francis Howell North will be temporarily leaving his teaching position.

Mr. Spencer has been working in the district for over 20 years, during which he has taught government, science, math and special education. His most recent post has been teaching special education at North.

Mr. Spencer wishes to work as a state representative for Missouri. However, the district refuses to grant him unpaid leave during his absence. Because of this, he will completely lose the seniority privileges that his lengthy teaching career has earned him, including a higher pay.

“I guess they’d rather pay for a lawsuit than for his leave,” said protester Viva Iverson.

Although parents already feel strongly about his situation, empathy for Mr. Spencer is increased even more when taking into consideration the impact he’s had on their children.

“Until Mr. Spencer came into [my son’s] life, he had no help. Now my child wants to go to school and wants to learn. I can’t thank him enough,” said mom Kelly Boden.

Marcus Choo, one of the organizers of the protest, closed the presentation with an understanding of the district’s difficult situation while standing his ground.

“I know it must be a tough decision, but we can’t take it lightly… We should give opportunities for people to leave, and then bring back the knowledge that they gained to students,” said Choo.