High school students in Kansas City, Kansas were shocked when their teacher flipped on a classroom projector that revealed a pornographic image. As reported by KCTV 5 News, after that incident two J.C. Harmon High School students were suspended for reasons their parents cannot understand.
Laura Lester’s daughter was in her first hour biology class where the incident took place and said, "When she came home from school she was crying her eyes out. She was unable to even speak about what had happened." Eventually, the girl told her mother that the teacher had turned on the overhead projector hooked up to his laptop and a pornographic photo for a website appeared in the background. KCTV describes the image as, “a naked woman in a compromising position from behind.”
"I know my daughter was very uncomfortable," said Lester. According to Ms. Lester, her daughter was so stunned by the image that she took a picture, which showed the teacher’s laptop and projector with the background shot of the woman, and sent it to her boyfriend asking him what to do. Karen Winkel’s son then sent the image to his friend, who, it is believed, uploaded it to his private Facebook page.
A two-day suspension was issued to the children of Lester and Winkel after their actions, which is a punishment their parents do not agree with. Lester told the station the suspension was given, “For inappropriate use of electronics. I have no idea (what that's supposed to mean). I tried to run it through my mind and understand. She was on her own cell phone." Winkel has her own theory saying, "I believe my son got in trouble because the school was trying to hide something."
A look at the district’s student code of conduct indicates that, “All cell phones should be turned off during the school day, which includes sending and receiving text messages,” and violations are punishable. Additionally, the code of conduct prohibits, “the practice of sending or posting sexually suggestive text message and images, including nude or semi-nude photographs via cellular phones or over the internet.”
Both suspended students are on the honor roll and worry about the impact of having the suspension on their record. "That's the most upsetting, is that she's looking into colleges and she’s looking at a bright future and this is going to follow her, what this teacher did," Lester said. "It was very upsetting that this is happening when our kids are in school, when they are supposed to be learning."
The parents spoke to school administrators about an appeal. When they were unable to get answers from administrators, the parents consulted an attorney and contacted KCTV. According to the station, under Kansas law, the parents have little recourse in reversing the school’s decision. Despite the parents waiving their privacy rights so the station could speak to administrators about the case, KCTV was told they could not speak to them. Instead, the school officials agreed to speak with the parents directly once again.
The teacher in the middle of the case has been employed by the school district since 2002. The USA TODAY Network talked to David Smith, spokesman for Kansas City Public Schools, who said the school, "works very hard to maintain strong relationships with parents and continues to be willing to sit down with the parents in this case and work through any issues." KCTV notes that district policy is to “place an employee on paid leave pending the outcome of an investigation.” Smith would not comment about whether the teacher was punished.