In 2015, the Massachusetts’ education department named English teacher Deven Antani as a semifinalist for its Teacher of the Year award.
Now, the Boston educator is out of a job after one of his students claims he showed a picture of his firearms as a form of retaliation for a complaint about his “inappropriate” behavior in class.
While the Newton Public School district tells Yahoo Lifestyle they were “unable to share more details” on the dismissal of its former employee, the student who was allegedly shown the photo has spoken out after finishing school at Newton South High School.
"I've never had an experience with a teacher like this," the18-year-old recent graduate told NBC Boston, who didn't want to be identified. The student claims he and another classmate filed a complaint about Antani’s behavior with the school.
"He was very inappropriate throughout the entire year," said the student. In late May, the student claims Antani approached them during class after they reported his conduct, showing them pictures of guns he and his wife owned.
"He took out his phone and showed us a picture of his firearm, and he described it as a Ruger, and said his wife was getting a Glock ” said the unidentified student.
The student claims that Antani added that “he couldn't wait until he could bring it to school.”
The student recalled immediately leaving the room and notifying another Newton South educator about the incident— claiming the interaction felt related to the student speaking out about against him.
“Initially I just thought that this man was crazy, and that he was a threat to the school,” the student told NBC Boston. “I’m happy that the school decided to take action.”
According to a statement from Newton Public Schools, the district “work[s] in partnership with the Newton Police Department to report and investigate incidents,” adding that this particular case was reported to police, who conducted an investigation into the matter.
“We were made aware by the school, we looked into it and no criminal charges will be filed,” Newton Police Department Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker tells Yahoo Lifestyle of their investigation. “What was brought to [the officer’s] attention did not level to a crime.”
The English teacher was soon placed on leave. Now, the district has announced that “Mr. Antani will not return to South next year and no longer works for the Newton Public Schools.”
“Ensuring the safety of students in the Newton Public Schools is a top priority,” reads a statement obtained by Yahoo Lifestyle from the Newton Public School district.
The statement later adds, “We will continue to take every precaution to ensure the safety of our students and will maintain our close working relationship with our partners in the Newton Police Department.”
The allegations about Antani’s inappropriate behavior runs contrary to what appears to be a history of teaching excellence. While teaching English at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High Schoo, Antani was named a semifinalist for Teacher of the Year in 2015.
In 2018, a Twitter user who appears to be a former student of Antani posted a photo with the English teacher at what appears to be graduation.
“The man. They myth. The legend, Mr. Antani,” the user tweeted to Antani who identifies himself as an “Ambitious altruist. Intellectual ninja. Doting dad. Language lover. Relentless optimist.”
She adds, “Thanks for being like family to me when i needed it most.”
Yahoo Lifestyle’s attempts to reach Antani have been unsuccessful.
Happy bday to my OG role model (other than MJ)... who also literally created the words of my tattoo. The man. The myth. The legend, @MrAntani. Thanks for being like family to me when i needed it the most. pic.twitter.com/SL4KFrt4ml— Grace (@gracekimmell) December 24, 2018
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