43-year-old Robert Schanne is accused of having what Lower Merion District administrators call a "dating relationship" with a one time student. Mr. Schanne, the well regarded physics teacher, is suspended pending a school investigation.
In a letter sent home to parents and students yesterday, school officials say evidence discovered last month suggests Schanne was engaged in the relationship more than 5 years ago with a then 18-year-old student.
Though they point out it appears Schanne was never involved in any criminal conduct, given the girl's age, they say any relationship of that sort is "unnacceptable and inappropriate."
Why the allegations are only surfacing now, 5 years later, isn't quite clear, nor is it clear if anyone knew of them then. What is clear, Shanne was a well-liked teacher and students who agreed to speak on camera say all of this comes as quite a surprise.
"I was really shocked and I didn't know what was going on. I was really sad because he was such a great teacher," said Lisa Li.
"I, personally, think he's an amazing teacher. I liked him a lot last year," said former student Tian Yi. "He cares about students."
Beyond the letter, district officials had no further comment on the issue neither did the teacher's union, which, Action News is told, has provided Schanne with an attorney we were unable to reach.
If the allegations are proven, Shanne will likely be fired, not for breaking any laws, but for breaking both parents' and students' trust.
Robert Schanne declined to comment at his home Tuesday night.