Amanda K. Fletcher is a 37-year-old former Spanish teacher at the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering who investigators say engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with a male on camera during a video Zoom class, according to investigative documents obtained by the New York Post.
Fletcher was “reassigned” just two weeks into the school year after the incident, which investigators said also involved the teacher eating spaghetti as the shirtless male stood behind her, according to the New York Post. Several students recorded video of the incident and shared it on social media, investigators said in the report, according to the Post. Fletcher did not give an explanation of her actions to investigators, the Post reported.
The Daily Mail reported that it is unclear how the behavior was captured on video, but that Fletcher may not have realized she was on camera at the time.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fletcher Has Been a Spanish Teacher for 14 Years & Taught at a Top-Performing Public School
Fletcher has been a Spanish teacher within the city Department of Education since 2007, according to her LinkedIn profile. The New York Post reported she had taught at the Morningside Heights campus since September 2018. The school, which serves students in sixth through 12th grades, is one of the highest performing in the city.
A bio for Fletcher has been removed from the school’s website. A description of the webpage for her bio still appears on the school’s site, which she called “About Me and My Courses.”
“My name is Amanda Fletcher. I have been teaching Spanish for more than a decade in NYC,” it says.
Her LinkedIn profile says she studied at DePaux University, a private college in Indiana, and at Hunter College, a part of the City University of New York (CUNY).
2. A Report From the New York City Special Commissioner of Investigation Details the Incident & Interviews With Students
The New York Post obtained a report from the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools, which details an account of the incident from video and witness statements. According to that report, students at the prestigious school were watching a live Zoom class when Fletcher “appeared to suck the nipple of an unidentified topless male” while she “rocked her head back and forth,” the New York Post said.
“Following this act, Fletcher’s face turned in full view of the screen, and she gyrated her shoulders and smiled,” the report said, according to the New York Post.
Before the alleged sexual act, Fletcher was “eating spaghetti” with a shirtless man behind her and then “resumed teaching and discussing a worksheet,” a student told investigators, according to the report dated October 29, 2020, the Post reported.
Students took videos of the strange turn in class on September 30, 2020, and several students shared the videos on Snapchat and other social media platforms, according to the Post. Students had only returned to school two weeks earlier for the 2020-2021 school year, which the city’s Department of Education decided to open remotely. The class was 12 minutes from ending, the New York Post reported.
The New York City Special Commissioner of Investigation has not yet publicly released its report.
3. Fletcher Was ‘Reassigned’ After the Department of Education Received the Report & an Investigation Is Ongoing
The Department of Education “reassigned” Fletcher after receiving the report from the New York City Special Commissioner of Investigation and “will pursue disciplinary action,” DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson told the New York Post.
“The SCI also urged the DOE to beef up teacher training on ‘appropriate and acceptable behavior while interacting remotely with students,'” the New York Post reported. The report said teachers should not have anyone appear on camera who is not involved with the class and should refrain from “eating or snacking; smoking, vaping or in any other way using tobacco; and any other activities that might prevent an educator from maintaining total focus on the classroom.”
“This behavior is absolutely unacceptable,” Filson told the New York Post.
In March 2020, the DOE released its Digital Media Guidelines for Remote Learning and “reminded school-based staff that virtual classrooms should follow the same protocols as in-person classrooms – e.g. outside individuals are not permitted to walk into a classroom, whether virtual or in-person – and staff must continue to maintain a safe and appropriate learning environment,” Filson told the New York Post.
The guidelines include sections on etiquette and remind teachers about “keeping things professional” and using “school appropriate language.”
4. Fletcher Remains on the Payroll & Had a Salary of $105,588 in 2020
Fletcher had a $105,588 salary in 2020, according to public records. Her salary is 150% higher than average and 368% higher than the median salary of employees within the city’s department of education, which includes 311,944 employees.
The average salary in the New York City Department of Education is $42,241 and the median annual wages are $22,570, public records show. These salaries include a variety of positions and a wide range of experience levels.
Fletcher remains on the payroll following her reassignment, the New York Post reported. She has been teaching since 2007.
5. Columbia Secondary School Is a Prestigious & Selective College Prep School With a Focus on Science, Math & Engineering
Columbia Secondary School “is a selective, public, college preparatory school with a focus on science, math and engineering,” according to the school’s website. Students typically are required to go through an admission process involving tests and interviews. The education also emphasizes “civic engagement and ethical responsibility” and prepares students for life “in service of humanity,” the school’s website says.
The school opened in 2007 through a partnership with the New York City Department of Education and Columbia University and “serves academically talented students who have an interest in a rigorous and demanding program focusing on math, science, and engineering,” the school’s website says. The school’s Spanish language program involves an immersion into Spanish culture beginning in 6th grade and continuing into an exploration of Spanish literature and film.
According to the school’s mission statement, “Its program of study provides a challenging academic experience that prepares its students for selective colleges; for careers in science, math, and engineering; and for a life of civic engagement and ethical responsibility. We train students to be socially and politically conscious, to be aware of their responsibility to their communities and the world, and to be dedicated to a life of creation and discovery in service of humanity.”