Akron, OH — An Ohio teacher risks being fired after she allegedly posted a photo of her students with duct tape over their mouths.
Melissa Cairns, a seventh and eighth grade math teacher at Buchtel Community Learning Center, has until Saturday, January 26, to respond to the allegations against her, UPI reports. On January 14, the Akron Public Schools Board of Education voted to pursue Cairns’ termination, and they are expecting to vote on her dismissal next Monday.
Cairns said the picture, which was taken last October, was meant to be a joke. She said she gave a student a piece of tape to fix her binder, and that the student then cut a piece of tape and placed it over her mouth. About eight or nine other students then did the same thing, and encouraged Cairns to take a picture. Cairns took a picture and put it on Facebook with the caption, “Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!” She was adamant that she did not place the tape on any of her students’ mouths.
Cairns said she thought her Facebook settings were private and that only her friends would see the photo. However, another employee noticed the photo and alerted a supervisor. Principal Sonya Gordon asked Cairns to take the picture off of her profile and informed parents and students.
Cairns has since been on paid leave from the school, but she said she has gone unpaid for the last couple of weeks. She also fought back against allegations that she hurt her student.
“I would never in a million years do anything to harm students,” she said. She also said she didn’t feel one mistake should “cost me the last 10 years of all the good I’ve done.”
This isn’t the first time a school teacher has found themselves in a sticky situation like this. Last year, a kindergarten teacher in China was fired after she posted pictures of herself abusing her students. In one picture, a student has been taped to a desk and also has tape over his mouth and nose. In another picture, the teacher is pulling a student off the ground by his ears.
Do you think Melissa Cairns should be fired, even if she didn’t physically tape her students’ mouths shut herself?