Exeter teachers were kids' favorites
EXETER — The three teachers whose names appear as the writers on the cover of a sexually-explicit screenplay called "Graduation Crashers" were given superlatives in the 2013 Exeter High School yearbook.
Social studies teachers Robert Batchelder Jr., Tod Grossmith and Mark Forbes were among eight teachers who received "teacher superlatives" in the yearbook released in advance of last night's graduation.
Nominated for superlatives by the student body, Batchelder was named "Most Relatable to Students," Grossmith was named "Most Chill," and Forbes earned the title of "Most Entertaining."
All three teachers have recently resigned and the scandalous screenplay is now part of an investigation that began in April when Batchelder was placed on paid administrative leave amid allegations that a female student may have been sexually assaulted in 2009.
No charges have been filed in the case, but during the investigation, authorities discovered the 104-page screenplay, which tells the story of four teachers from a school called Biltmore High School who crash graduation parties of students who made their lives miserable.
Batchelder, Grossmith and Forbes are the main characters in the screenplay, which features scenes with teachers drinking, involved in sexual encounters with mothers of students and a college intern, and other lewd behavior. In one scene, a graduating jock is stripped down to his underwear and the teachers draw an obscene image on his face before snapping a picture and posting it on a gay dating website.
None of the scenes involve teachers engaged in sexual acts with high school students.
The three teachers were placed on administrative leave during the investigation. Batchelder resigned in May while Grossmith and Forbes resigned last week, although Batchelder is the only name revealed publicly through minutes of an Exeter Region Cooperative School Board meeting last week. The others are expected to be released at a school board meeting Tuesday.
Superintendent Michael Morgan said he is aware that the teachers were recognized in the yearbook.
"The role of the superintendent is not to interfere with the process of the yearbook. The students selected these teachers and we're not going to interfere with that," he said Friday.
When asked if he believes the names of real students and other real people from the school community were used in the screenplay, Morgan said, "I think I've had my own suspicions. To say that they're absolutely definitive is difficult."
Morgan said the school district's investigation is now over, unless someone else brings new information forward.
At this point, he said the investigation is now in the hands of Exeter police and the state Department of Education.
The investigation and resignations came just as seniors were preparing for graduation.
"I think it's unfortunate that it would happen at this time or year or happen at any time of year," Morgan said. "I'm disappointed that some of the negativity is overshadowing the positive things. I think the good at Exeter High School far, far outweighs any negativity. There are so many positive things going on and so many accolades."