Drama Class Moves On After Teacher Sex Assault Allegations

teacherverification May 14, 2013 0


by: Jack Tobias


Nazareth Area Middle School drama students—in the aftermath of sexual assault charges against their former teacher—were praised for going “above and beyond all kinds of challenges” and “overcoming many obstacles.” Delivering the praise at Monday night’s school board meeting was the students’ principal, Robert Kern.

He did not name the accused teacher, Shawn Salevsky, saying at one point he did not want to go into the exact nature of the situation.

The group of about 30 students, meanwhile, adhered to the adage “the show must go on” and sang excerpts from the musical “Seussical” they will perform in full Wednesday and Saturday.

There was no public comment about the accused teacher. In fact, no one from the public spoke at the board meeting on any topic, although there was rousing applause for the performers.

Salevsky, 39, was charged May 3 with repeated sexual assaults of a male student over a period of more than two years. He faces numerous charges, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault and corruption of minors.

Salevsky, who lives in Lower Macungie Township, was freed after posting 10 percent of $75,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 19 before District Judge John Capobianco of Nazareth.

The school board fired Salevsky at its April 22 meeting, but the teacher was removed from the school before that.

After Monday’s school board meeting, Kern said the middle school is “trying to move forward in a positive direction” and to make school programs “maybe even better.”

Kern sent a letter to parents and guardians last week, saying he wanted to “reiterate that the safety and security of our students has been, and will continue to be, my No. 1 priority as principal.”

He reminded parents that any child who is experiencing difficulty due to the sensitivity of the situation or the emotions arising from it should seek the help of school counselors.

He also said:

”This is an unpleasant and challenging situation for all of us in the Nazareth Area School District. Please know that regardless of what is happening, our primary goal is to assist your child through this period and to continue to offer an educational environment that is safe and secure for our students.”

During his introduction of the drama students at Monday’s meeting, Kern also praised teacher Lauren Munson, a long-term substitute who took over the drama program after Salevsky’s departure.

Munson, meanwhile, described how the students stayed after school “every day” until 4:30 or 5pm in the last two months to master the “Seussical” material.

One of the spirited excerpts the students performed from the show – based on the books of Dr. Seuss – was “How Lucky You Are.”

Another had a 1930s-40s Swing Era feeling, complete with a tom-tom drum introduction reminiscent of Gene Krupa’s famous “Sing, Sing, Sing” solo introduced to the public some 60 years before the students were born.

Kern announced that the Wednesday and Saturday performances begin at 6:30pm.

This article was written by Jack Tobias   and originally published on nazareth


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