Akron, Ohio (CBS CLEVELAND) — The Akron Public Schools Board of Education voted to pursue the firing of a middle school teacher accused of posting photos of her students with their mouths’ duct-taped to her Facebook page.

The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the district has given Melissa Cairns, a middle school math teacher at Buchtel Community Learning Center, until Jan. 26 to respond to allegations that she posted a photo of her students’ duct-taped mouths on her personal Facebook page.

According to district spokeswoman Sarah Hollander, the photo showed eight or nine of Cairns’ 16 students with duct tape across their mouths and a caption that read: “Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!”

According to Hollander, a colleague of Cairns’ notified a supervisor after viewing the photo. Buchtel Principal Sonya Gordon then notified parents and asked Cairns to delete the photo. Hollander told the Beacon-Journal that Cairns has been on paid leave since Oct. 19. The board voted on Jan. 14 to pursue the termination of Cairns, who received a notice of the action on Jan. 16. The board is expected to vote on Cairns’ termination at its next meeting on Jan. 28 unless she requests a hearing on the matter.

The photo is not currently posted on Cairns’ Facebook page, which shows posts dating back to 2011.

The district hired Cairns in 2007, Hollander wrote in an email. Cairns taught math for three years at Garfield and two years at Firestone. She started at the middle school campus at the new Buchtel CLC in August. Her school personnel file indicates that she was placed on a Plan of Assistance at Firestone to improve her teaching skills.

According to her Facebook and LinkedIn profile, the Beacon-Journal reports that Cairns is a Kent resident and Kent State graduate. She also is an avid marathon runner and founder of On My Own Two Feet, a domestic violence awareness organization.


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