An Ohio teacher faces dismissal after Facebook photos reportedly surfaced of her students with duct tape over their mouths with the caption "Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!"
Melissa Cairns, a middle school math teacher at the Buchtel Community Learning Center in Akron, has until Jan. 26 to respond to allegations that she not only duct-taped some of her students' mouths shut, but that she also publicized the photos on her personal Facebook page.
The photos are believed to have been posted in September or October, when one of Cairns' colleagues notified a supervisor. Buchtel Principal Sonya Gordon then notified parents and asked Cairns to delete the photo. No such photo currently is posted on Cairns’ Facebook page, the Akron Beacon Journal
The Akron Public Schools Board of Education voted last week to pursue the firing of Cairns, who has been on paid leave since Oct. 19.
The district hired Cairns in 2007, school board spokesperson Sarah Hollander told the Beacon Journal in an email. Cairns started at the middle school campus at the new Buchtel center in August. Her school personnel file indicates that she was placed on a teaching assistance plan at one point to improve her teaching skills.
The Akron Education Association is requesting that a referee step in, mediate, and make a recommendation to the school board on the case, union president Jeff Moats told the Beacon Journal. The referee would determine whether the offense was severe enough to warrant termination.
According to her Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, Cairns is a resident of Kent and a Kent State University graduate. She also is an avid marathon runner and founder of On My Own Two Feet, a domestic violence awareness organization.
The board is expected to vote on Cairns’ termination at its next meeting on Jan. 28.
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