Ex-teacher found guilty on 3 counts for leading walkout in Allentown School District
Former charter school teacher Michael Frassetto speaks to supporters before entering the old Lehigh County Courthouse for a hearing before District Judge Karen C. Devine on Monday, June 20, 2016. (HARRY FISHER / The Morning Call)
LENTOWN — During four hours of testimony, two pictures emerged of the former charter school teacher who carried a bullhorn and marched with hundreds of students in Allentown as they left their schools last fall.
In one, painted by attorney Gary Asteak, former teacher Michael Frassetto was like Ghandi and Nelson Mandela when he encouraged students to stand up for their rights and peacefully demonstrate against the Allentown School District. If it is criminal to give students a voice, then Frassetto will "proudly wear the badge of criminal," Asteak said.
But the school district's attorneys, Jonathan Huerta and John Freund, said Frassetto was an irresponsible adult who enticed teenagers to leave school, causing disruptions and putting students at risk by leaving school grounds. They argued that if Frassetto was going to promote civil disobedience like Ghandi and Mandela, he should take responsibility for his actions.
District Judge Karen Devine of Allentown heard both descriptions Monday and found Frassetto guilty of three out of 417 counts of corruption of youth the district filed against him — one for reach student who walked out — for his involvement in student walkouts last September.
The charges are summary offenses, similar to criminal mischief, and carry fines. Frassetto, 29, was ordered to pay $100 for each offense for which he was found guilty.
Attending school is mandated by law and the district believed that Frassetto broke the corruption of youth law that deals with abetting truancy. But at the conclusion of the summary trial, Devine said she could only find evidence of Frassetto's direct involvement in three instances.Ex-teacher found guilty on 3 counts for leading walkout in Allentown School District - The Morning Call: