LONGVIEW – A music teacher is under investigation by school officials after a student stunned a concert audience with a profane tirade that she said was merely imitating the instructor’s style.
Savannah Larson, 13, gave the first performance in the spring concert, attended by about 700 students, teachers, relatives and friends at Monticello Middle School. At the end of singing Rogers &Hart’s “Where or When,” she delivered what first appeared to be a verbal nod to the instructor, Constance “Connie” Noakes.
“I forgot to thank my wonderful choir teacher, Ms. Noakes, for all that she’s taught me these past couple of years, like always knowing what to say in any situation, like … ,” Larson began, then let fly a stream of expletives and obscenities she said Noakes regularly used in class.
The next day, June 6, the eighth-grade honors student was suspended for 10 school days, forcing her to miss her graduation ceremony and party.
Longview School District officials said they were investigating her claims about Noakes, who remained on the job. The teacher did not return several telephone calls from The Daily News of Longview this week, and could not be reached by the Associated Press at the school Thursday afternoon.
Larson and her mother, Anastasia Larson, said they had complained several times to school administrators and talked to Noakes about her language and behavior, to no effect.
Vice Principal William Ofstun, who is leading the probe by interviewing other students, teachers and parents, would not comment on the Larsons’ claims that he received prior complaints about Noakes.
If the Larsons’ claims are supported by others, the matter could be referred for possible discipline to the Office of Professional Practices in the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.