In high school, there were always creepy-ass teachers and administrators who the students thought were weird enough to be up to some carnal-type shit when they were off the clock. Who hasn't imagined their math instructor going S.C.O.S.A. after hours in the teachers' lounge? Now, present and former-students of the small and prestigious Scarsdale High School in New York have some bizarre real-life substantiation for those thoughts.
David Mendelowitz was the dean of students and guidance counsellor at Scarsdale for 15 years until suddenly retiring in June for "medical reasons" which, it turns out, meant he got caught ordering drugs and hookers to his apartment in the middle of the night. Yesterday, he was arrested for more extensive involvement in a prostitution ring and coke-dealing operation, which "specialised in Korean and Chinese women and generated over $7 million in revenue over the last two and half years" according to NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly. I talked to a few of the dean's former students and advisees about the unfolding shenanigans.
Former SHS students Matt, Nick, and Sofia.
VICE: What did you think of the dean during your time in high school?
Matt Usukumah: I thought he was a good person. He cared about the students who he mentored.
Nick Kanney: He was a nice guy, seemed very professional and experienced with his job. He tried to maintain a good relationship with all of his students. For the most part I felt like he was helping me out as much as he could, and there were very few problems any students had with him.
Sofia Fabiancic: All I have to say is what I've heard my friends said about him and what a weird but happy and extremely fatigued guy he looked like.
What was your initial reaction to the news?
Matt I was surprised to hear about these allegations. However, he didn't really make much of an effort to really understand and communicate with his students. If anything, my relationship with him was professional.
Nick: It came to me as a complete shock when I heard about this. There were no signs at all of him dealing with drugs. He always seemed very clean and, like I said, professional.
Sofia: I was thinking just how weird it was when he mysteriously retired and how out of the blue it was. There was like zero warning given. Usually teachers announce that sort of thing beforehand.
Were there ever rumours about any of his behavior?
Matt: Not really. But thinking about it now, he had this odd, wobbly poise about himself. I didn't read much into it. I disregarded it as him being a very tall person.
Nick: I never heard any rumours of him related to drugs and prostitution. I'm surprised he was able to participate in these activities without having it impacting his job.
Sofia: No, I just remember when I'd see him at the guidance office he'd either be jolly as fuck or totally grumpy, and he had the worst undereye blue things.
Would you party with the dean?
Matt: That's a tough one. Partying with the dean seems too hardcore. I'm the type that would just get a drink at the bar... I like my nose.
Sofia: Uhhh… No. I don't like crack cocaine or prostitutes. And something tells me he would want both.
Nick: I would probably say no, that would make for an awkward night.
There's nothing surprising about these answers. Of course no one bought drugs from the guy. No one saw him having private conferences with a disproportionately high volume of Asian women. It's a reminder that the people we deal with on a daily basis could end up having elaborate parallel lives we may never experience or uncover. Your old babysitter could have been an art thief, your best friend a moonlighting stripper, your dog an undercover CIA operative. There's no way to know for sure and, like Mendelowitz, everyone is suspect.
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