SHELBY, Ohio – Shelby City Schools board of education Monday accepted the resignation of middle school social studies teacher and high school wrestling coach Ryan Shafer, despite protests from parents who said the district forced him out.
About ten parents spoke in support of Shafer at the public meeting, including Rachael Yetzer, who said the group collected 366 parent and student signatures to protest after hearing Superintendent Tim Tarvin would not be recommending Shafer’s contract be renewed at the end of the current school year.
Though Shafer decided to resign, the parents said they felt compelled to finish what they started by making one last plea to the board.
“He’s inspired a lot of us to step up because he’s gotten such a great response from our kids and our kids love him,” Yetzer said, adding that her own son always comes home with “a Mr. Shafer story” and that the teacher has instilled a love of learning in his students.
Parent Gary Baker praised Shafer for going above and beyond to spend his weekend time working with young wrestlers in the biddy program and said his departure will be a loss for the community.
“We need more Ryans in this district. I wish all three of my children could have had him as a teacher,” said Jim Thomas, a parent who said he is considering open enrolling his children out of the Shelby district because of negative experiences they have had.
Thomas commended Shafer for purchasing a home in the Shelby district and planning to stay at Shelby long-term as a teacher and coach.
Thomas asked board members to ask themselves whether they feel the district is headed in the right direction.
“First off, the renewal levy was voted down after how many years of passing?” he said. “The decision to join the SBC league has upset many parents. … Furthermore, our recent test scores on the state report cards have left many people wondering what is going on, and now we are going to have open enrollment due to families that have decided to go elsewhere. Maybe some of these issues are playing into the hands of the voters of this district as they stop and say, ‘We have had enough.'”
Community member Robert Davidson asked board members why email comments submitted through the district’s website were not replied to, saying community members feel they are not being heard. Board president Lorie White responded by saying the board does read the comments, but the system is not set up in a way that makes it easy to reply.
White said the board’s practice is to refrain from commenting publicly about personnel issues, and no other board members addressed the parents during the meeting. Tarvin previously declined to comment for the same reason.
The board unanimously accepted Shafer’s recommendation without discussion as part of a list of personnel actions recommended by Tarvin.