Wyoming Teacher With Pornographic Photos On iPad Can Keep Job
A Wyoming teacher who inadvertently synced pornographic photos to a school district iPad can keep his job, the state's high court recently ruled.
According to a Wyoming Supreme Court ruling, the teacher was issued a Lincoln County School District iPad. The teacher then set up an Apple ID using his school district address.
In 2018, the teacher purchased an iPhone and registered the iPhone to his existing Apple ID.
At some point, unbeknownst to the teacher, personal photos and images from his iPhone began synching to his district-issued iPad.
The suit states that district officials received a phone call in March 2019 from the Wyoming Department of Family Services informing them that the teacher may have inappropriate, pornographic and sexually explicit images stored on the district-issued iPad.
Lincoln County School District No. 2 Superintendent Matt Erickson conducted an investigation that turned up 1,000 images, the vast majority of which were personal but not inappropriate, but 50 images were considered "graphic, pornographic, sexually explicit, obscene and inappropriate for a district device."
According to the filing, the 50 inappropriate photos included nude photographs with the teacher and his girlfriend, screenshots of their text messages that contained explicit content and memes that contained profanity and sexually explicit jokes.
The ruling states that when the teacher was confronted with the situation, he explained that the iPad had been at his home as a backup for the 2018-2019 school year. The teacher told school administrators that he believed the images had synced from his personal iPhone to the school district iPad and was not aware the images had transferred.
District officials placed the teacher on administrative leave before the school board voted to terminate him.
The teacher successfully appealed the school district's decision to the Third Judicial District Court in Lincoln County. Then, the school district appealed that decision to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Ultimately, the high court ruled that the school district erred in terminating the teacher.
"(The teacher) was adamant throughout the investigation and proceedings that the photos and images inadvertently synced from his iPhone to the iPad," Justice Lynne Boomgaarden writes in the ruling. "He insisted that he had not used the iPad to take the photos, download the images or edit any of the photos.
"And he expressed embarrassment and remorse about what happened. Superintendent Erickson expressed his belief that (the teacher) did not want to photos and images to end up on the iPad."
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