After consulting legal counsel, Houston County School Superintendent David Sewell said Friday that several Ashford High School teachers will be placed on administrative leave effective Monday after inappropriate text messages discussing students surfaced on social media Thursday.
Texts from one teacher’s phone showed a group message called “Bad A Bs” with six other teachers sharing commentary about their students’ sex lives and intelligence.
Sewell said after completing an investigation into the social media messages Friday morning and meeting with several of the parents of students named in the texts, he determined that the allegations were credible. He decided to temporarily suspend the teachers involved until they obtain legal counsel and undergo due process – a hearing before the Houston County Board of Education.
At this time, Sewell said there is no timetable in the process, but the board meets in a regular meeting Monday at 5 p.m.
Although the names of the teachers are on the group message, they have not been identified by the school system. At this time, the Eagle has decided not to publish their names.
“There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to anything that takes place on a cell phone,” Sewell said. “I hate that it happened. We try to put policies and procedures in place to make sure things like this don’t happen. We’ll go back and try to reinforce.”
Sewell declined to discuss what board policies the teachers may have violated.
Teachers identified in the video recording are culpable in the text messages made public by a student who obtained access to an unidentified teacher’s cellphone during school hours and later leaked the messages online.
According to social media comments, the student was given the cellphone by a teacher and screen recorded the messages after coming across the group chat, which was then sent to several students.
According to a copy of one of the messages reviewed by the Eagle, the teachers identified the students and former students by name. In one of the texts, one teacher wrote, “(student's name) got 3 girls pregnant?!!?! That (racial slur) so slow he can’t walk and chew.”
One of the teachers also texted she was going to “b****slap” someone identified as another teacher.
Many parents used Facebook to relay frustrations with the teachers’ actions, and several have shared the videos on Facebook, which have garnered over 5,000 views.