If board doesn't fire texting teachers state could possibly do it

Stock photo. Female texting on phone, Photo Date: 12/10/2011. Jhaymesisviphotography / CC BY 2.0
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Dothan, AL (WTVY)-- If the Houston County School Board doesn't terminate several Ashford High School teachers who shared inappropriate and insensitive messages with each other state officials could step in and do it.

“We are aware of the situation and are looking into details of what happened (in Ashford),” said Dr. Michael Sibley, Director of Communications for the Alabama State Department of Education.

Some of those teachers used racial slurs, explicitly discussed students sex lives, and one teacher said she might slap a fellow employee. The thread, intended to be private, contained other messages some also consider inappropriate.

Superintendent David Sewell suspended the teachers—up to six of them---last week, after a student obtained the messages from a teacher's phone and posted them to Facebook.

However, Sewell indicated Monday the teacher's will not be terminated because the school system lacks an adequate policy covering such issues.

“If there is an offense egregious enough, and the local system does not do anything, we do have the authority to examine someone's teaching certificates,” Sibley told WTVY.

He said it would premature to predict if ALSDE and it's superintendent, Dr. Eric Mackey, would consider stripping the teacher's credentials from them.

A meeting where board members would decide punishment, if any, for the teachers has been canceled. It appears the board failed to legally announce the meeting, something required under Alabama law.

(This story updated at 6:45 a.m. 11/20/2019 to reflect cancellation.)