Superintendent hints texting teachers may keep jobs

Houston County School Board meets on November 18, 2019.
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Dothan, AL (WTVY)-- Houston County School Superintendent David Sewell promises the fate of six Ashford school teachers who shared inappropriate messages will be decided this week.

He met privately with school board members Monday night to discuss the matter. “I just needed to make sure that the board members knew about the situation,” he said.

Executive sessions exclude the public and media when good name and character are discussed.

The text messages, intended as private chats, contained a racial slur, violence threat against another teacher, and seemingly inappropriate discussions about students' sex lives.

“I think they should be fired. Teachers (shouldn't) do that,” said Bennie Teague, who stood outside while board members met behind closed doors.

The text messages became public last week after an Ashford High School student obtained them from one of the teacher's cell phone and posted the chat on Facebook.

While those teachers are suspended, Sewell hinted they may not be fired because there is no policy that forbids their actions.

“We're probably going to be rewriting our policy about cell phone use by students and by teachers,” Sewell told WTVY.

Ashford High School graduate Jimmy Weems believes, had the racial makeup been different, a decision would have already been made.

“If it had been six black teachers and if it had been white students they (disrespected) they would have been fired on the spot,” he said.

WTVY is unable to confirm the racial makeup of teachers and students mentioned in those texts.

Sewell said the board will meet Wednesday and make a decision about if and how the teachers will be punished.