Students viewing ‘nude selfie’ costs Georgia teacher her job

August 1, 2014

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Ben Velderman Ben Velderman

Ben was a communications specialist for EAG from 2010 until August 2014. He is a former member of the Michigan Education Association.
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SAVANNAH, Ga. – Nude pictures and social media have cost yet another educator her job.

On Wednesday, middle school teacher Lekeshia Jones was fired by the Savannah-Chatham school district for being irresponsible with her cellphone and for acting insubordinate during her punishment for the phone mishap.shocked by phone image

According to SavannahNow.com, Jones’ original blunder occurred during the recently completed school year when she left her cellphone unattended on her desk while away from the classroom. When students found the cellphone, they were able to search through Jones’ personal photos because the educator had previously given them the phone’s password so they could call home when they were staying after school.

“What they saw became the hottest topic on the middle schoolers’ social media sites for weeks — Jones lying in bed with her nude body partially draped in a sheet, a nude selfie and a close up of female anatomy,” SavannahNow.com reports.

The students started a Facebook page – titled “T.H.O.T (That Ho Over There)” – and used other social media to share the images with their peers, according to Myers Middle School Principal Ericka Washington.

Jones’ second blunder came when she decided to investigate the matter on her own instead of immediately telling administrators what had happened. Meanwhile, the images kept getting passed around online until Washington learned what had happened and reported the incident to her superiors.

District officials decided to terminate Jones, and reassigned her to a central office desk job while that process played out.

Then came the teacher’s third mistake: she refused to show up to work for three weeks, choosing instead to file complaints about the way she’d been treated, SavannahNow.com reports. This action led to the charge of insubordination, which contributed to Jones’ undoing with the district.

Defying common sense, district leaders reassigned Jones to another middle school in mid-April, even though they still planned to fire her once the school year wrapped up.

Jones’ fourth and final mistake occurred two weeks later when “she left her cellphone unattended in her classroom a second time and it was stolen,” the news site reports.

The teacher asked for paid leave and to be reassigned to yet another school. It’s not clear if administrators’ granted either request, though if they did, Savannah’s parents and taxpayers should take to the streets.

What is known is that Jones did not present a defense during Wednesday’s hearing, at which the Savannah-Chatham school board voted 8 to 1 to fire her.

Jones’ explicit pictures “shouldn’t have been in the classroom in the first place. Policy clearly says if you take a cell phone to school, it’s your responsibility to take care of it,” noted school board attorney Leamon Holliday, according to SavannahNow.com.

“The teacher still has her teaching license, so she can still go to other counties to teach,” WTOC.com reports. “She can also appeal the board’s decision by taking it to the State Board of Education.”

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