Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Swim Coach is Back!

Falsely Accused Lane Tech Coach Back in Class!
By Jim Vail

Lane Tech teacher and former girls swim coach Paul Rummelhoff is back in the classroom after being under investigation for the past nine months.

The Lane Tech High School swim coach who was falsely accused of having sex with a female swimmer and was under investigation for the past nine months has been reinstated as the math teacher at Lane Tech High School.

He just began his first day of school this week on Monday, September 15.

"It feels great to be back," Paul Rummelhoff told Second City Teachers. "I can get on with my life."

While the "distinguished" math teacher (the highest rating given under the teacher evaluation system called Reach) is back in the classroom, he cannot coach.

"Right now I want to concentrate on my main job that is teaching," he said. 

Rummelhoff has a two-year-old daughter and his wife is expecting their second child early next year. He said rather than spending the 20 - 30 hours coaching the girls swim team this year, he will be concentrating on his young family.

"I can use that time now to help my wife and even take classes to obtain a masters," he said.  

However, Rummelhoff said he will be allowed to ask for an "amendment" in the future so that he could be reinstated as a coach should he choose to do so.

The former Lane Tech girls swim coach said he was issued a warning resolution for texting students and 'unauthorized tutoring.'

"I stopped and talked to students while I was coaching and that was 'unauthorized tutoring," Rummelhoff said. "One girl said I had tutored her before or after lunch. It was not formal tutoring, it was just answering questions about the homework or explaining something in class during the practice."

Rummelhoff said he thinks the Chicago Public Schools had to come up with something to justify keeping the Lane Tech math teacher out of the classroom since January, even after the Department of Children and Family Services found the teacher and coach innocent of the charges.

The Lane Tech teacher said he believes the decision could have been to spite the parents who spoke up in his defense at a board of education meeting last month, in addition to the media he generated on his behalf.

Second City Teacher news blog first reported in April that he was totally exonerated of all charges and yet was still not allowed to teach. This story created a lot of buzz in his defense via social media, and a CBS TV news report in July featured interviews with the parents who wanted him back as their coach because he was innocent. 

Rummelhoff said the CPS investigator Hal Ardel, who tried to get him to admit he was having sex with a female swimmer, had followed up with a few soft questions about tutoring students during his practices right when the parents were speaking out at the board meeting demanding his return. He said he thinks the timing was obvious.

"The fact that the parents were pushing this moved the process along," he said.

The exonerated teacher also said he will contact the news station that first ran the story to run a follow up report. He said he thinks many people who watched his name in the news believed he was a sexual predator. He said he will also try to have Google clear his name so that a search will not immediately show the accusations, but rather the final verdict of "Not Guilty!"

Rummelhoff said he could understand CPS's reason to keep him away from the girls swim team for a bit because of the controversy that happened. 

"They want to get you to quit," Rummelhoff said. "It could have been another year of being investigated until you resign. Then they could say he resigned while under investigation. That's how they deal with problems from the teachers; they ignore it long enough until it goes away."

Rummelhoff said while he is happy to be back in the classroom, it will be unfortunate for the girls on the swim team that he cannot coach.

"I want to continue teaching," Rummelhoff said. "I just feel sorry for the students who were looking forward to my return."      

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