UPDATE (3:56 p.m. Friday)—A popular teacher was reassigned last month after one of his female students referred to herself as his “girlfriend” on Twitter. Now, some of Andrew Cizek’s students plan to rally before the county Board of Education next week in support of the psychology and social studies teacher.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools spokesman Bob Mosier said Cizek was removed from Arundel High at the end of February. He has been reassigned to a position that does not involve contact with students.
Mosier said school officials are conducting an ongoing investigation involving Cizek, but he declined to reveal a timeline or specifics, including the reason for the reassignment. He added that a final determination has not been made on Cizek’s teaching status.
According to students and parents, the investigation began after one student discovered a comment on Twitter from the female student of Cizek’s. The female student made reference to providing a gift to Cizek, and referred to herself as his “girlfriend.”
Students said the comment was in reference to a chicken sandwich she gave him.
Students said it was their impression that the “girlfriend” reference was made in jest and they do not believe Cizek has behaved improperly.
The tweets in question appear to have been deleted. But Patch located a portion of the tweet in question through a Google search. Another tweet found through a Google search says “Me and Mr. Cizek for Cutest Couple.” In another, a user asks followers to “please vote me most likely to have an affair with a teacher.”
The tweets found through Google are truncated, and at least one of the user's accounts has been deleted.
Arundel High senior Olivia Piasecki contacted Patch and confirmed she had sent the tweets to Cizek. Tearfully, she insisted they were innocent and made in jest, and said that there was no improper relationship.
“People are blaming me, and it [stinks],” she said. “I hope people know that nothing happened.”
A review of Cizek's personal Twitter feed, which has not been updated since Feb. 16, indicates he has frequently used it to communicate with students. On Feb. 12, he corresponded with a female student and referenced a request for a gift. The following day, he tweeted that he was “stood up" by that same student on his birthday. He completed the tweet by writing, “so much for prom...".
Reached at his home in Crofton, Cizek said he wished he could talk about the case, but would not due to the ongoing investigation.
“I’m really hoping to get back to work, but I think the best thing to do is not comment,” Cizek said.
Mosier declined to confirm or deny any specifics of the incident, though he said it was being reviewed by a committee of school officials assigned to handle situations involving employees. Cizek has the option to appeal any decision if he is unsatisfied with the outcome, Mosier said.
Cizek taught AP Psychology and AP Comparative Government, mostly with 11th-graders and 12th-graders.
Cizek’s reassignment prompted students and parents to flood the Board of Education and other school officials with letters supporting Cizek. They created a Facebook page titled “Bring Back Mr. Cizek,” a @BringBackCizek Twitter handle and produced a video professing their support.
“We want our teacher back,” Arundel junior Kate Langdon wrote in an email. “He is such an inspiration to kids and adults alike. Whether it's through a Jedi light saber fight (yes, this did happen), high-fiving us in the hallways, or just asking us about how things are going, Mr. C has always managed to make each and every one of us feel good about ourselves.”
Cizek’s removal from Arundel prompted school officials to shuffle staff duties, according to a letter obtained by Patch that was sent to students’ families Feb. 28. Barbara Dziedzic, an English teacher with social studies certification, is now teaching Cizek’s AP Comparative Government class. Social studies teacher Bradley Wray has been assigned to videotape AP Psychology instruction and provide it to a substitute. On Wednesday, the school announced it brought in David Bauer, a former world history and comparative religions teacher at , to transition into teaching psychology.
Students said the change in teachers is disruptive to their preparations for AP exams.
“This is too much confusion too near to AP testing,” said Taylor Rama, an 11th-grader who was taking Cizek’s psychology class. “We are too stressed and pressed for time to adapt to a new teacher.”
Students said they plan to voice their concerns during the public comment period at the school board's March 21 meeting. It is unclear whether their support of Cizek will have any bearing on the investigation. Mosier said school officials have reviewed and responded to many of the letters from students and parents.
“If there is information in those communications that is pertinent to the investigation, then certainly we’ll take a look at that,” Mosier said. “We’re certainly sensitive to [student concerns] but the overriding principle at play here is that we have an issue that there is an investigation about, and that investigation has to play out. Emotions aside, it has to be fair to everyone involved.”