Metro-East News

Students saw porn on Mascoutah substitute teacher's laptop, police say

News-Democrat file photo

A Mascoutah Middle School parent doesn't want to start a witch hunt, he says, but couldn't stay silent after his daughter saw pornographic images on a substitute teacher's laptop on Wednesday morning.

"What if this ends up like kicking over a rock, and you're like, 'Holy Cow'?'" said parent Ben Barbeau. "If you're of proper age, your business is your business. But when put into a position like that, why?"

Mascoutah School District officials did not immediately respond to questions.

The Mascoutah Police Department has not charged, and does not plan to charge, the substitute teacher with any crime, said Police Chief Scott Waldrup. Police did not release the name of the teacher.

"There's really no grounds or basis for criminal charges against the guy," Waldrup said. "Just bad judgment bringing a personal laptop to school that has that type of stuff. Pretty stupid."

The girl and about four other students in a seventh-grade class saw what Barbeau said was a revolving array of photos of "fully nude women, with, like, a scarf around their neck."

Barbeau said the screen-saver popped up when the teacher got up to teach the lesson and perhaps bumped the computer. About five students were close enough to see the screen-savers.

"It was all Playboy-esque pictures," Barbeau said.

Both Barbeau and Waldrup were told the substitute would not be teaching at the district again, and the Department of Children and Family Services had been contacted.

"You just do that because, that way, they have the information," Waldrup said. "They're a clearinghouse for that information. We always notify DCFS, it's a precaution."

The Mascoutah School District's Employee Handbook allows personal technology into the schools, including laptop computers. The handbook specifies the employees shall "adhere to the high standards for appropriate school relationships" and are subject to disciplinary actions including dismissal.

Barbeau said the school contacted parents of the children who saw the images by phone that school day.

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535, @MaryCooleyBND