3 teachers suspended over text messages leaked online

An Alabama school board is disciplining three teachers accused of sharing offensive text messages about students that were later leaked online

DOTHAN, Ala. -- An Alabama school board voted to discipline three teachers accused of sharing offensive text messages about students that were later leaked online.

The Houston County School Board voted Wednesday night to approve 10-day, unpaid suspensions for three teachers from Ashford High School, news outlets reported. Some in the audience complained that the punishment wasn't severe enough.

As many as six teachers were suspended with pay earlier after a student used social media to post leaked text messages that included a racial slur and comments about students' sex lives and intelligence. The suspensions for three teachers followed an investigation by school officials.

The Dothan Eagle reported that Superintendent David Sewell recommended the punishment for Tambria McCardle, Kim Worsham and Julee Lasseter, plus systemwide diversity training early next year.

Community members filled the board's meeting room and many said the punishment wasn't stiff enough.

Erica Williams, whose child’s pregnancy was discussed in the teachers’ texts, said she was disappointed in the board’s decision.

“I thought they’d be fired,” she said. “They need to be transferred or something.”

Rodreshia Russaw, co-director of local advocacy organization “The Ordinary People Society,” said the '"teachers made a clear point" when they gave the group a name that referred to bad teachers.

“This was not a mishap,” she said to the board. “Let’s not forget there was motives and intentions there.”

Sewell said he sought the legal advice from the board’s attorney and other education lawyers, and none recommended firing the teachers.

The superintendent declined comment on whether the student who posted the leaked teachers' messages was disciplined, but the sheriff's office said no charges were planned.