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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Teacher Posted Facebook Photo of Students With Duct Tape

Posted by on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM
  • 9 Replies

An Ohio middle school teacher is fighting to keep her job after a photo was seen on her Facebook page showing students of hers with duct tape across their mouths. The Akron school board is considering whether to terminate her.

Melissa Cairns, a middle school math teacher at Buchtel Community Learning Center, has been on unpaid administrative leave after an Akron public schools worker noticed a photo posted on Facebook of a group of students with duct tape across their mouths. The caption on the photo: "Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!"

READ: Professor Suspended After Joke About Killing Students on Facebook

Jason Haas, president of the Akron Board of Education, said the case raises questions about students' privacy and social media.

"This is the start of my sixth year on the board. In that time, we haven't had a case come before us for potential disciplinary action for posting a picture to social media websites," said Haas. "Has she violated the students' privacy? That's what we're concerned about. Everyone seems to be focused on the duct tape."

Sarah Hollander, communications officer for Akron Public Schools, issued a statement describing the case:

"There were about 15 or 16 middle school students in the class. Eight or nine students put the tape on their mouths. Cairns took a photo and posted it on her personal Facebook page as a joke. The photo wasn't dated, but was likely taken in late September or early October 2012," said Hollander. "Principal Sonya Gordon asked Cairns to take the photo down. She also alerted parents of students in the class."

READ: California First to Endorse Comprehensive Social Media Privacy Law

Cairns told ABC News affiliate WEWS-TV in Cleveland that she originally gave one of her students the tape to fix her binder. When the teacher handed the strip of tape to the student, Cairns said, she placed the piece of tape over her mouth and laughed. When the other students saw the girl laughing, they joined in. Next, students asked Cairns to snap a photo.

"Do I think that this one mistake should cost me the last 10 years of all the good I've done? Absolutely not," said Cairns. "When your emotions are involved, that's when you learn things."

On Jan. 22, Cairns requested a hearing take place to determine whether she can keep her job as a math teacher. She is entitled to present her case with a referee present. A date for the hearing has not been set.

Haas told WEWS-TV that "students are protected under federal law and have certain protections." He said, "It would look like that potentially violates those protections."

But will this set a new precedent for the school board? Haas said it's difficult to determine.

"It comes down to how the board feels after the administration presents their case. We've gone with the teacher's side and there's other cases where we've gone with the administration's side," said Haas. "Nothing is cut and dry at all."

On Jan. 14, the seven-member board of education was given criteria to consider whether Cairns should be let go.

The 33-year-old teacher was put on paid administrative leave on Oct. 19. As of Jan. 15, she's been placed on an unpaid administrative leave. On Jan. 16, Cairns received a letter informing her of a possible firing. She was given 10 days to request a hearing before the board or a referee.

"Why was there duct tape in the classroom? How did they [the students] come to have access to it," said Haas. "We'll have these answers to these questions later."

Haas said he believes the hearing will likely be scheduled in late February.

Cairns was hired by Akron Public Schools in August 2007, and first came to Buchtel last August.

 

by on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM
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Replies (1-9):
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:50 AM
1 mom liked this

Sadly, this mistake could very well cost her her job.

I get the joke.  If my daughter was part of that, I would not be upset nor concerned.  Of course, this does depend on the teacher.  

She meant no harm and it was all in fun. 

I do, however, understand the privacy issue concerning the kids.  I just don't know that she should lose her job over this.

Duct tape is used for many things.  The fact it was in her classroom doesn't even phase me.  At this point, many kids carry it now because they are using it for any and every thing or making some thing out of it.  

survivorinohio
by René on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:53 AM


Quoting FromAtoZ:

Sadly, this mistake could very well cost her her job.

I get the joke.  If my daughter was part of that, I would not be upset nor concerned.  Of course, this does depend on the teacher.  

She meant no harm and it was all in fun. 

I do, however, understand the privacy issue concerning the kids.  I just don't know that she should lose her job over this.

Duct tape is used for many things.  The fact it was in her classroom doesn't even phase me.  At this point, many kids carry it now because they are using it for any and every thing or making some thing out of it.  

I agree.

BTW Buchtel is a high school not a middle school.

How far you go in life depends on your being: tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of both the weak and strong.  Because someday in life you would have been one or all of these.  GeorgeWashingtonCarver


Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:53 AM
I understand she was Joking but in this day and age you shouldn't just post these things online...
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:54 AM


Quoting survivorinohio:


Quoting FromAtoZ:

Sadly, this mistake could very well cost her her job.

I get the joke.  If my daughter was part of that, I would not be upset nor concerned.  Of course, this does depend on the teacher.  

She meant no harm and it was all in fun. 

I do, however, understand the privacy issue concerning the kids.  I just don't know that she should lose her job over this.

Duct tape is used for many things.  The fact it was in her classroom doesn't even phase me.  At this point, many kids carry it now because they are using it for any and every thing or making some thing out of it.  

I agree.

BTW Buchtel is a high school not a middle school.

Ahhhh, thanks for that.  

gammie
by on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:56 AM

If I read it right it sounds like they were playing around. Than the teacher did nothing wrong.

radioheid
by Libertarian on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:58 AM

 My sister knows this woman. She's part of the ultra-marathon community. She's not a nice person. And she's already on probation as a teacher for something else. She should be fired.

That's all I'm going to say.


"Roger that. Over."

R   A   D    I    O    H    E    I    D

MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 11:58 AM

She should have better sense not to post the pic  on her FB.  In fact, she should have never taken it at all.  However, I don't support her being terminated over this.  She did not place the tape on this students and meant them no ill-ill.  And the assertion that this teacher did something horrible by having a roll of duct tape in the classroom is ridiculous. 

MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 12:00 PM
2 moms liked this

That is the opinion I got from both reading this article and watching a video of her explaination.  Unless we are missing a crucial major detail, I see this as an overraction by the school or an attempt to get rid of a teacher they simply do not like.


Quoting gammie:

If I read it right it sounds like they were playing around. Than the teacher did nothing wrong.


 

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Jan. 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM


Quoting radioheid:

 My sister knows this woman. She's part of the ultra-marathon community. She's not a nice person. And she's already on probation as a teacher for something else. She should be fired.

That's all I'm going to say.

Well, see........we really do not know every angle of every story out there.

If she truly is not worthy of the position and has done other things to warrant her firing, out she should go.

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