Local teachers shared 'inappropriate messages' about students in group chat, woman claims

Local teachers shared 'inappropriate messages' about students in group chat, woman claims

A former student teacher is calling out teachers at a local charter school for talking about students inappropriately in a private group text.

Jennifer McKinney – the former student teacher – took screen shots of the “inappropriate messages” and then sent the complaints to Soulsville Charter School officials.

The teachers who were in the group chat all taught eighth grade students at the charter school.

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One message involved one of the teachers poking fun at a student who had an accident during class.

“I was really upset about this. How can I be in a classroom learning from you when this is how you feel about the kids?” said McKinney.

McKinney was invited to the group text while working as a student teacher, but she quickly became horrified by what she read.

“These parents are trusting you with educating their kids, and you are mocking them behind their backs,” McKinney said.

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Another message included a picture of a student – with a teacher claiming the student was in “white face.”

And the photos and inappropriate comments didn’t stop there.

“I knew I had to leave, that was what broke the camel’s back,” said McKinney. “I had to walk away.”

McKinney quit at the end of January. But not before she showed school officials the screenshots of the chat.

The kids get in trouble they get an automatic referral out of the classroom, so why is it okay to make jokes amongst teachers? It’s not okay, it’s not appropriate,” McKinney said.

School officials later sent an email to parents regarding the inappropriate messages.

Officials said they were not pleased with the screenshotted messages, and they will take necessary action.

The emailed statement read, in part:

"While there are rumors that are grossly untrue and missing context, we also are not pleased with the content of some of the screenshots that have been shared publicly from some individuals on the 8th grade team… We are examining any inappropriateness that has taken place and will take necessary action."

McKinney hopes the school will hold the teachers accountable for the sake of the students.

“If they are not going to hold them accountable that’s going to kind of make the morale of the school go down,” said McKinney.

FOX13 reached out to the school. Officials told FOX13 they are taking the incident very seriously and are “working to resolve this issue.”

Below is the full statement from the school following the incident:

"The Soulsville Charter School has become aware of concerns regarding a private teacher text platform that is standardly used for logistical purposes and planning during the school day. We regret that some of our children's names and likenesses were made public by an outside party via a cable access television program and on social media. The school takes this very seriously and is in the process of working with students, teachers, staff, and parents toward resolving this issue internally with, of course, our children's best interests in mind, which is always our top priority."