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Tossed paper causes incident at Canyon High

Classroom hijinks leads to investigation at local high school

Posted: April 1, 2009 1:39 a.m.
Updated: April 1, 2009 4:59 a.m.
A Canyon High School classroom prank went awry last week and launched a multi-pronged investigation Tuesday, according to a school official.

The incident unfolded when Amanda Larrson-Dally, 17, of Canyon Country entered the classroom on Friday to ask permission to interview a student for Canyon High School's television station. She handed the teacher, Mike Motherspaw, a note requesting an interview from a student in the AP Environmental Science class, Larrson-Dally said.

Motherspaw allegedly crinkled up the paper and threw it in Larrson-Dally's face in front of the whole class, catapulting Canyon High School into controversy.

"These are the people I go to school with," Larrson-Dally said.

Asked about the incident, Canyon High School principal Bob Messina said, "We will certainly check it out, but we think he was goofing around."

Larrson-Dally's account differs from that offered by school officials.

"He crinkled the paper and threw it directly in my face. We were standing face-to-face and it was so embarrassing," Larrson-Dally said.

She cracked a smile to hold the tears back in spite of the embarrassment, Larrson-Dally said.

"I don't know this teacher and no one in the class was laughing," Larsson-Dally said. She didn't think the teacher was "goofing around."

Neither does her father Nick Dally, who went to Canyon High School with his daughter on Monday to report the incident to administrators.

"The only one at the school that seemed concerned was the campus officer," he said. He left the school frustrated.

"They immediately went on the defensive," Dally said after speaking to Dr. Andy Keyne, the vice principal assigned to the investigation.

"Knowing the reputation of the teacher, this is way overblown," Messina said.

Cecilia Larsson-Dally, Amanda's mother, said the school's attitude and defensive posture is fueling the controversy. "I am sure he's a nice guy, but he did was wrong," she said

Messina said Keyne began interviewing the students from the class Tuesday, but declined to state when Keyne will complete the investigation.

He will implore the teacher involved in the incident to apologize, Messina said.

"A simple ‘I am sorry' is not going to do it," Nick Dally said. "If my daughter was a son and played football, then a simple ‘I am sorry' would be good enough."

Dally wants the investigation to look into the teacher's work history. "Has he done this before? Where did this guy come from? Will he do this again?"

Dally filed a report with Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station school resource deputy Devin Freeman. Freeman said the report is on file and an investigation is pending.


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