Teacher allegedly taped students' mouths

Jan. 21, 2013 at 6:50 PM

AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- An Ohio schoolteacher faces the prospect of being fired after allegedly posting a photo of her students with duct tape over their mouths on her Facebook page.

Buchtel Community Learning Center math teacher Melissa Cairns has until Saturday to respond to the allegations, the Akron Public Schools Board of Education says. The board voted Jan. 14 to pursue termination of Cairns and is expected to vote on her dismissal at its next meeting Jan. 28.

School district spokeswoman Sarah Hollander said Cairns, who joined the district in 2007, has been on paid leave since Oct. 19. The newspaper said the teachers' union said it would request a referee to hear the case.

Cairns taught at two other schools in the district before joining the Buchtel staff in August.

The photo in question allegedly was taken last fall and shows eight or nine of Cairns' 16 students with duct tape over their mouths with the caption: "Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!"

A colleague notified a superior about the photo. Buchtel Principal Sonya Gordon then notified parents and asked Cairns to delete the photo.

The Beacon Journal said she identifies herself as a "survivor of domestic abuse" in her LinkedIn profile.

The newspaper said it was unable to reach Cairns for comment.

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