Akron teacher Melissa Cairns fired for posting Facebook photo showing duct tape on students' mouths

Former teacher says it's the district's loss

AKRON, Ohio - The board of education voted Monday to fire Akron middle school teacher Melissa Cairns over a picture on Facebook showing duct tape covering several of her students' mouths.

"She showed a lack of good judgment. Her conduct was unbecoming of a teacher," said Akron Public Schools spokesman Mark Williamson.

A caption under the picture read: "Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!"

On Wednesday, Cairns said, "In my heart, I feel that I was a good teacher and it's their loss."

Last January, Cairns told NewsChannel5 she regretted the post and it was meant to be a joke.

The incident happened last October at Buchtel Community Learning Center where Cairns teaches math to seventh and eighth graders.

According to Cairns, a student asked for tape to fix a binder. The teacher gave the girl a roll of duct tape, but rather than use it on her binder, the student cut a piece of tape, placed it over her mouth and laughed.

"The other kids in the class thought it was funny also, and they proceeded to pass the tape and scissors around the class. The students, the majority of the class, ended up putting a piece of duct tape across their mouth," Cairns explained earlier to NewsChannel5.

According to a statement from Akron Public Schools, there were 15 or 16 middle school students in the class. Eight or nine students put the tape on their mouths.

APS district spokesperson, Sarah Hollander, said another employee noticed the photo on Facebook and alerted a supervisor.

Principal Sonya Gordon asked Cairns to take it down and notified parents and students in the class.

Cairns said she's moving on from the controversy and pursuing a job outside of teaching.

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