The Lower Merion School District fired an award-winning teacher Monday for having a romantic relationship with one of his students at Lower Merion High School.
Without commenting, the school board unanimously dismissed science teacher Robert Schanne, who had been suspended with pay since December, when administrators learned of the affair.
Schanne, 43, has refused to discuss the case and did so again when reached at home before the board vote. "No comment," he said. His union-appointed attorney, Charles Herring, deferred all questions to school officials.
Schanne's termination does not include any settlement or severance pay, district spokesman Doug Young said. It also ends the district's investigation into the matter.
"Our district expects the highest standards of conduct from its employees, including its teachers," he said in a statement.
Schanne's suspension last month capped a tumultuous year for Lower Merion, one of the wealthiest and most accomplished public school systems in the state.
In 2010, the district completed its $200 million high school construction project; endured high-profile lawsuits over a redistricting plan and its remote monitoring of school-issued student laptops; and celebrated the renaming of the Lower Merion High gymnasium after its most generous and famous alumnus, Kobe Bryant.
District officials have been spare with details about Schanne and the student. In a Jan. 4 letter to parents, they described the affair as "a dating relationship" that occurred "more than five years ago" when the student was 18. They have not identified her or disclosed how the relationship came to light, but said the evidence "did not suggest any criminal conduct."
Pennsylvania law sets the age of consent for sex at 16, although prosecutors in some counties have brought child-endangerment and corruption-of-minors charges against teachers who have had relationships with 16- and 17-year-old students.
Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said neither she nor her office was asked to review the matter.
A graduate of Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania, Schanne had taught science at the school since 1997, including Advanced Placement courses this year in physics and mechanics.
Two years ago, he won a national teaching award, the Siemens Award for Advanced Placement, from the College Board. He also served as an adviser to the Lower Merion High School yearbook staff.
The lone comment on the matter at the meeting came from a Lower Merion student, who told the board he was worried that his education - and potential for success on the AP tests - had been "greatly impaired" by Schanne's sudden departure.
"He's the best teacher there is out there for this subject," said senior Nate Diehl.
Superintendent Christopher McGinley told the teen: "We're going to do everything we can to make sure that you and others are fully prepared."