Teacher Terror at a Pennsylvania Middle School
By: Gerri L. Elder
It may be an understatement to say that teaching can be a really tough job. Teachers are often under-compensated, stressed out and even shorted on materials that they need to do their jobs effectively. However, some very special people still feel the calling to become an educator and enjoy teaching despite all of the shortcomings of the job.
Susan Romanyszyn taught school at Longstreth Elementary School in Pennsylvania and was once a finalist for a national teaching award according to a news report by the Bucks County Courier Times. She has been described as an excellent teacher who is a nice person and who seemed to be entirely “normal.” Those assessments make the charges against her seem even more shocking and bizarre. Authorities say that Romanyszyn secretly made terrorist threats at the school because she was frustrated that she had been assigned to teach a 4th grade class this school year.
The Courier Times reported that law enforcement officials say that the 45-year-old teacher wrote 15 separate child-like notes with various threats and placed them around the school in order to make it seem that one of the students was responsible for them. She is also accused of putting nails in the school’s parking lot and putting an object that looked like an explosive device in a student’s desk.
The Times also reports that Bucks County District Attorney Michelle Henry held a press conference at which she said that Romanyszyn has been charged with 17 counts of making terrorist threats. She allegedly made the threats because she had requested that she be assigned to teach a 5th grade class this year, but instead was assigned a 4th grade class.
Apparently, being assigned to a 4th grade class was a big deal to Romanyszyn, although it is difficult for others to comprehend how it could have driven her to commit the crimes she is accused of committing.
Are 4th graders really all that bad?
According to the news reports, the notes that Romanyszyn is accused of writing were sloppy and contained purposeful spelling mistakes and crude drawings of gun violence. The bomb-like device that she made was placed inside a 5th grade student’s desk. The theory is that she thought that she could create enough fear to make a 5th grade teacher quit so that Romanyszyn could have the 5th grade job.
Romanyszyn denies the charges against her and says that she had nothing to do with the terror threats at the school. She also has denied that she was unhappy with her 4th grade teaching assignment. She could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Her criminal defense attorney has said that Romanyszyn was arrested because police were desperate to solve the case and not because there was any evidence against her.
Romanyszyn has been on administrative leave from her teaching position since October 22. She posted $100,000 of a $1 million bail and is currently awaiting trial.