SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: #MeToo Jay Shaplow Retired ELA Teacher at Ardsley Middle School

Saturday, November 18, 2017

#MeToo Jay Shaplow Retired ELA Teacher at Ardsley Middle School

When I started teaching in 1995. I called Jay Shaplow my former 7th and 8th grade ELA teacher from Ardsley Middle School to share with him that he was one of my role models as a teacher and I plan on teaching in a style like him.

But not completely in his style. There are always exceptions.

I didn't recall it for years after the incident that occurred when I was in 8th grade in 1978. Not even when I called him in 1995. But a few years later I recalled it, shared it with a colleague during my third year teaching and didn't say anything to Shaplow when I ran into him at the Westchester County Center when the Ardsley High basketball team was in the Section 1 playoffs.

But it is has been vivid in my mind for years and I have even shared it with classmates on Facebook. In fact one former classmate remembers the incident.

Back in 1978, the 8th grade had gone on a class trip. My recollection is we had gone to Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson. Someone else recalls it as we being at Rye Playland. What we both agree upon is the following: we were leaving and on the bus either getting ready to leave or had already left. I was sitting, not alone, in the front seat of the bus next to the door. Shaplow was sitting in the seat behind me. Shaplow then started talking to me.

"Hey, Zucker, how do you masturbate?"

 "How often do you masturbate?"

 He seemed quite interested in my responses.

At the time I was 14 years old. Legally, not an adult, but nothing more than a child who lived at home with mommy and daddy and still, I think, had a bedtime.

Stupidly, I engaged Shaplow in this conversation and after the bus ride that was the end of it. But who knows how Shaplow was affected and in what manor.

I guess when I started teaching I looked back on it and realized it was fucked up for a teacher who was at the time 28 years old to be engaging in this perverse type of conversation with a 14 year old boy.

I never told my parents. I never told the principal at the middle school. Not until I was an adult and teaching and knew of that any and all of my actions as a teacher would have both negative and positive ramifications on my students did I share this experience. But I am happy I did. I got validation.

I have kept quiet. But no more. My wife had been violated as a young girl. I know others that have been violated as well. What I went through in no way compares to what these others have gone through. But.

Was Shaplow's banter an attempt at grooming? He knew how fucked up my home life was. And if this was "grooming" was I the only 14 year old boy he attempted this with in his 30+ years of teaching? And if this was "grooming," did his attempts ever come to fruition in his 30+ years of teaching?

What does the Ardsley Union Free School District and the Ardsley Police Department know? What does the community of Ardsley know?

Let's just get one thing straight. Whether he was doing it to be a smart ass, a comedian, thought he was being hip, or any benign reason, Shaplow fucked up and was wrong. If this was his grooming methodology, there are not enough words to say what should or should've happened.

Hopefully, some good can come of this. Perhaps Shaplow not only talked to another 14 year old boy in this manner, but worse, took it to another level.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that Shaplow spoke to me in this manner. He was wrong. He was unprofessional. He violated the trust between student and teacher. This needs to be out there.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

AP Arnie Abrams used to ask every male teacher the same thing at Evander HS. Then he used to describe how he jacked off. He did this constantly.

Prehistoric pedagogue said...

When you called Shaplow in 1995, you were an adult. You should have confronted him then, not on the internet 20 years later.

Bronx Teacher said...

Did you read above where I didn’t recall it until AFTER I had called him.

Anonymous said...

Prehistoric, I agree. This morning I wrote out 2 pages describing a very disturbing incident that happened when I first started teaching. I was going to post it. I looked up the slimeball and he’s like 80. Fuck it, I let it go. But if Zucker wants to write it it’s his right - not that I like you Peter, but I do respect you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that this happened, Peter. And I DO believe you. I'm sure you're a great teacher!!! Signed.....A friend from Hans Frigo's math class.

Anonymous said...

My teachers used to hit us, not joke about whacking off. But I'm not going to troll them 50 years later. There's nothing like the self-righteous importance of the man with a Blog.

Anonymous said...

Not possible he knew teenagers were ashamed of that and he wanted to let u know it was no big deal? I think you're very wrong, not to mention humanly, to post this. Do the right thing and take it down.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you should take it down. Lots of guys joke and bust chops (or in this case balls) like this. You told the guy he was a model for you in becoming a teacher and then you do this. Friends with Fran and Betsy and then the vilification. I'm glad I have nothing to do with you. This is really a classless thing you are doing. Take this crap down.

Anonymous said...

Agree with anon 11:59 here. It sounds like he was trying to relieve a teenage boy of being ashamed.

It's easy to reach a different conclusion with hindsight and forgetting all (all (all (all))) of the context of the 1970s and 1980s. The more difficult thing to do is discuss something like this without falling into the trap of presentism (looking through the actions of yesterday through the lens of today's ethical values). That's a tough thing to do.

Not saying it was an appropriate comment to make. Of course not. But if it wasn't part of any pattern and just this one experience, it begs asking whether or not this post is a snap judgement.

Prehistoric pedagogue said...

But you did say you remembered it at the time you saw him in person at the basketball game. That would have been the time to raise this because presumably he was still teaching. I taught for almost 40 years. I don't know of anyone who is perfectly appropriate every single day. When I think of some of the dumb things I have seen or done I cringe. If he was, overall, a good guy and a good model for your professional growth you really should consider taking this down and forgetting about it

catt55 said...

This guy (your former teacher) was inappropriate, period. Women get this. It’s a sick feeling in your gut that tells you, nope, nah, not good. Not kosher! Call him out. Why not? Why surmise his supposed “intentions”??? He’s a s*ck f*ck. We’ve all met them. Unless you fear retribution in social media or otherwise. I avoid creeps but I’m a girl (lady, female, gal, etc)

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a really low blow to put out there on the internet. THERE ARE OTHER WAYS OF DEALING WITH THIS SITUATION. Yes if it was true, then it was highly inappropriate. However, might even have been a one time thing--just a real big mistake [tho others might understandably disagree]. Posting this is a mistake.. You should think hard about it. You may have done damage to an innocent family at this point. Consider taking it down

Anonymous said...

The only consolation is that very few people read this blog. The writer is unmanly. He trashes UFT in writing, but in person he's a little lamb. Same here. Too cowardly to confront in person -- oh yeah he didnt remember until later -- but a tough guy online. Pathetic.

Bronx Teacher said...

I’m a little lamb? Is my fleece as white as snow? Funny.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Catt55. It's amazing how often men can be so cold to this. Great it didn't happen to you but this happens all too often. What makes Peter's story different from other women coming forward about politicians and media figures. Who cares how long it's been! All too often, we keep these horrible memories to ourselves for what reason. I confronted my grandfather 20 years later. He blames me which was bullshit. I didn't need an apology nor reasons why, I needed to get it off my chest. I wanted him to know how I felt and continued to feel, etc. How dare some of you tell Peter to forget it. What if it was a relative of yours? Would you say the same thing? You guys need to be more sensitive. If abuse/harrassment, etc was not done to you, you have no right to tell others how they should feel or what they should do. One last thing, whether you like this blog or not, whether you agree with his point of view or not, should not be a factor about him posting this. Point is that teacher should not have done what he did and I'm sure Peter was not the only one. This should get out because of who knows how many other victims there are out there AND who knows if he is still pulling this shit today.

Mary said...

Many times it takes a lot life experience to ascertain of conversation is appropriate. Peter was a teenager and the teacher was fishing to see what Peter was a good catch for further exploitation. The teacher was indeed inappropriate, it made Peter feel slightly weird, he didn't give signals to the teacher to take it to the next step. Gotta wonder how male youngsters, were intimidate by this teacher and felt forced to engage with this teacher. Peter, as a kid, went on with his high school experience and he has right to announce the inappropriate interaction as an adult. And; truly this should be a lesson to us all when we are speaking to our kids about how some kids end up being severely violated because they were profoundly intimidated by the adult in charge. Anyone trying mute this life lesson Peter is blogging about should think twice. Knowing Peter he just wants to keep kids safe.

Mary said...

Many times it takes a lot life experience to ascertain if a conversation is appropriate. Peter was a teenager and the teacher was fishing to see what Peter was a good catch for further exploitation. The teacher was indeed inappropriate, it made Peter feel slightly weird, he didn't give signals to the teacher to take it to the next step. Gotta wonder how male youngsters, were intimidate by this teacher and felt forced to engage with this teacher. Peter, as a kid, went on with his high school experience and he has right to announce the inappropriate interaction as an adult. And; truly this should be a lesson to us all when we are speaking to our kids about how some kids end up being severely violated because they were profoundly intimidated by the adult in charge. Anyone trying mute this life lesson Peter is blogging about should think twice. Knowing Peter he just wants to keep kids safe.

Anonymous said...

Peter should be sued. He obviously is a bitter person. Especially when it comes to dealing with the DoE. Have read his blog on and off only because I read another blogger who carries the SB blog. It is real clear that this guy is one bitter individual. He needs a long sabbatical,