iBoink? Teacher tablet troubles trump student woes
If program glitches, limited wireless access, and delayed roll-out were the biggest problems emerging from the tablet computers Charlottesville City Schools issued to students, a more "adult" issue arose from the city's distribution of electronic tablets to teachers.
According to sources who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation, the trouble began last year after a teacher used an instructional room at Walker Upper Elementary School for a sexual tryst. She later emailed images from that and at least one other costume-laden sexual encounter to another Walker teacher.
The wardrobe-happy teacher resigned after administrators became aware of the activity, which did not involve students or other minors, the sources say. While City schools spokesperson Cass Cannon declined to confirm the extra-curricular activity that caused the shake-up at Walker, she confirmed that the instructor at the center of the controversy resigned last August.
Sources say the second teacher merely viewed the unusual images last summer on her school-issued Apple iPad, then showed the photos to several colleagues. She was put on administrative leave last fall, according to sources, who claim that the basis for the suspension was misuse of school equipment– the iPad– by viewing and distributing the pictures.
It turns out that sharing prohibited material on a school-issued tablet violates the terms-of-use contracts teachers sign prior to receipt of the iPads. The second teacher resigned in January for what spokesperson Cannon would describe only as "personal reasons."
Due to the intimate nature of the matter, the lack of criminal charges, the lack of an on-the-record source, and the lack of clear public records on the matter, the Hook is withholding both teachers' identities. A friend of the second teacher wants, however, to voice fairness concerns.
"They treated her so badly," says the former colleague of the second teacher, a "widely respected" woman who allegedly received the offending images without warning. The colleague says the second teacher was such an opponent of in-school carnality that she had already notified the school's principal after receiving an earlier round of trysting photos at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
The former colleague asserts that administrators were able to oust the second teacher because in showing the pictures from her school-issued iPad, she may have violated her technology contract and thereby voided her legal right to preserve her job.
None of the other teachers who viewed the photos were punished, says the former colleague, outraged that students would lose a valued teacher just for showing images which had arrived via a private email account– images of adults, sent to adults, and in some cases depicting three adults.
"The teacher was there for a decade, never had a bad mark in her personnel folder, and was widely loved by the kids," says the colleague.
The second teacher did not respond to a reporter's repeated requests for comment; the allegedly trysting teacher, reached by phone, declined comment.