Teacher toss-up in the Engineering Academy

Engineering juniors have been batted between teachers for the third time, and now it seems their class hardly exists at all

Engineering juniors are wanting more structure in the classroom, but it seems they won’t get it until at least after spring break.

Engineering juniors are wanting more structure in the classroom, but it seems they won’t get it until at least after spring break.

Ella Whalen, Staff Writer

The troubles brewing in the junior-level engineering class this school year came to a peak last Tuesday, when enrolled students found that such classes were removed from their Focus gradebook entirely for the day.

One Applied Engineering III teacher, Mr. McRae, had notably been absent for several nonconsecutive weeks throughout the first semester. Outside of one spell of Covid, no clear reasons were cited for his absence, but assignments were given online in advance.

Near the start of the second semester, McRae had resigned, his name being replaced by ‘TBA’ on the Focus gradebook. Due to his previous absences, the current suspicion is that he was unable to take a longer temporary leave for either medical or family reasons. Two long-term substitute teachers filled his place in the classroom, Mr. Peiffer and Mr. Hart, while the other Applied Engineering III teacher, Mr. Bhatt, gave and graded assignments. Peiffer was a substitute for other classes at East Lake before being pulled for McRae’s and shared that he did not receive the usual information on the class and its assignments for Applied Engineering III.

On February 15th, nearly two weeks ago and just before a presentation project was due for the class, Bhatt began a longer, unannounced absence as well. The lining up of his absence with others in the engineering academy raised suspicions among their students, such as junior Danny Marshall who said on Thursday, “The fact that McRae resigned right before Bhatt [left] is kind of weird to me… I feel there’s something going on there, but it’s not my job to think about that.”

The final straw came when the class was removed from the Focus gradebook entirely on Tuesday, for students of both McRae and Bhatt. Peiffer and Hart were absent for a time as well, being replaced by shorter-term substitutes from last Wednesday to this Thursday. The class returned to the gradebook the next day, and assignments have continued to be given despite them not having been graded since Bhatt’s absence. Bhatt was allegedly supposed to return Thursday, but instead returned the day after, citing a sprained leg that hindered him from driving.