Houston County Board of Education meeting

Houston County residents packed the Houston County Board of Education meeting on Nov. 18.

A hearing for several Ashford High School teachers has been canceled by the Houston County superintendent’s office to give their legal counsel more time to shape their defense, according to Superintendent David Sewell.

An email from the office cited “procedural due process.”

The teachers were placed on paid administrative leave on Monday after a student leaked messages found in a group text from one teacher’s cell phone. In the messages, teachers commented on students’ sex lives and intelligence.

Superintendent David Sewell said the teachers will remain on leave until their next hearing date, which he said will be rescheduled at a later time.

Rhonda Hicks, Alabama Educators Association representative for Houston County, confirmed Wednesday that the teachers will be represented by the AEA.

“I believe the students’ teachers have the right to a full investigation at this point. That has not been completed,” Hicks said.

Hicks said there are multiple facets to consider from the teachers’ standpoint such as rights to freedom of speech and privacy, and whether or not the fourth amendment prohibiting unreasonable search and seizure has been violated.

Last week, a student reportedly was given a teacher’s phone and came across the group message titled “Bad A Bs” with six other people.

The student screen-recorded roughly 50 of the most recent messages in the chat and sent it to several people. The messages later leaked on Facebook and sparked outrage from those students and families involved.

The school board will meet again for a work session/board meeting on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. at central office.

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