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Teacher at middle school in Savannah dismissed over circulation of nude photos

Posted: August 7, 2014 - 10:04pm

SAVANNAH — Myers Middle School teacher Lekeshia Jones was fired Wednesday, July 30 on the grounds that her insubordination and cellphone irresponsibility resulted in students circulating nude photos of her.

The Savannah-Chatham school board voted 8 to 1 to terminate Jones after district officials described the drama that ensued after Jones twice left her cellphone unattended in her classroom.

The first time Jones was teaching business classes at Myers Middle School. She had previously given her cellphone password to students so they could call home after school. So one day when she left her phone on her desk and went into the hall to work on a bulletin board, students were able to get into her phone and look through her private photos.

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.

“They had created a T.H.O.T (That Ho Over There) Page on Facebook and a Kik Room where several people go on the Internet and can text and share photos,” said Myers Principal Ericka Washington. “She should have reported it.”

Instead Jones rounded up the most likely suspects and launched her own investigation into who had been sharing the photos from her phone. Washington said Jones had students text and email the nude pictures and social media chatter back to her.

The resulting disruptions went on at Myers until Washington found out what was going on and reported it to central office officials.

The drama didn’t end there.

Human Resources Director Ramon Ray said Jones was told she was being recommended for termination for failing to report the cellphone incident and was temporarily placed in a central office desk job.

However, she didn’t return to work for three weeks. Instead she filed complaints about the way she was treated throughout the ordeal. During that time Ray said he discovered a forged teaching contract Jones tried to use to secure a loan.

Jones was ultimately reassigned to DeRenne Middle School on April 17. District officials intended to recommend her for termination at the end of the school year. However, after just two weeks on the job she left her cellphone unattended in her classroom a second time and it was stolen.

Jones then asked for leave with pay and a reassignment to a third school.

District administrators argued that Jones was insubordinate when she didn’t show up for work for three weeks and irresponsible in the way she handled her cellphone.

“She gave her password to the kids and they somehow got on it and when she found out she didn’t report it but had the kids send pictures back to her. Those 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,” school board attorney Leamon Holliday said. “Then incredibly she takes her cell phone to a second school and it gets stolen.”

Jones did not present a defense or object to any of the statements or evidence presented at her hearing.

School board member Ruby Jones was the only board member who opposed her termination.

Comments (5)

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curiousjustice
1319
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curiousjustice 08/08/14 - 02:40 pm
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Premium Member

@BigBird, everything example

@BigBird, everything example you use are behavior that is against the rules. I doubt the school system has a written rule or law that states that you can't take legal pictures with your own phone on your own time. She didn't "then DONT POST THEM on a PUBLIC forum". Using your rational, if the teacher brought her purse to the classroom and someone went into it and took her wallet then that would be her fault because she should have known that her class was full of thieves. No, the biggest point that should be made is that it was stolen. You empower the kids to continue their bad behavior by putting the blame on the teacher and overlooking the kids' behavior. Just because she let them make a phone call on her phone doesn't mean she wanted them to steal her phone and look thru it. Are yout telling me that if you let your neighbor borrow your car to run an errand and then the next day when you weren't looking they took your car and went on a joyride, that would be ok with you? I don't think so. The article does say she "reported it to central office officials". I suspect the argument about not reporting it immediately is just an excuse by the authorities. I believe that if she had reported it immediately the outcome would have been the same.

Big Bird
49
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Big Bird 08/08/14 - 10:17 am
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Premium Member

This teacher had a

This teacher had a responsibility when she stepped upon school property. When on the job, the employer has rules and expectations different than those on your own private property. Employees don't always have the same liberties on public property or private business property. What if she hid a weapon or gun in her desk and the "kids got to it?". What if she brought a box of vodka and hid the box in her desk, but the "kids got to it?". What if she left a bottle of her oxycontin and left in her desk, but the "kids got to it?". Yes, the kids would be thieves and should be disciplined, BUT the employee, an adult charged with setting an example before youth, has a responsibility to not transport certain things onto school property of which the kids could readily "get to." She did not show due diligence to protect the kids from the improper items taken upon school property. AND she knew she gave the kids her password AND she knew the kids used the phone. She did not accept responsibility when she put the photos on that phone in the first place. She could have used another phone. How many times have you heard, "If you don't want someone to read or see your inner thoughts or private pictures, then DONT POST THEM on a PUBLIC forum?"....and her phone was pretty public since she gave the password to the kids. Irresponsible.

curiousjustice
1319
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curiousjustice 08/08/14 - 08:17 am
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Premium Member

And of course it is always

And of course it is always the victims fault. If she hadn't taken her cell phone to school it wouldn't have been stolen? "if you take a cell phone to school, it’s your responsibility to take care of it". Sounds a lot like if you hadn't been dressed like that you wouldn't have been raped. Sure what she did was stupid but no where do I see anything said about the illegal behavior by the kids. @GrumpierOldMan you state "And we wonder why kids act like they do" and are exactly right, but not for the reason you insinuate. It is not the teachers fault that the kids are a bunch of heathens and thieves. Even though what she had on her phone I or you might not think appropriate, they were her personal property. They, I guess, were legal and she wasn't sending or showing to the students in the school. They were stolen by criminals.

GrumpierOldMan
2200
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GrumpierOldMan 08/08/14 - 07:15 am
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Premium Member

And we wonder why kids act

And we wonder why kids act like they do . . . .

Max mutt
9129
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Max mutt 08/07/14 - 11:00 pm
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Premium Member

Definitely someone that I

Definitely someone that I would want teaching my kids.
A real role model.

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