Student says she witnessed IPS teacher watching porn on classroom computer

Update (Dec. 8, 2016)-- The teacher was cleared of any wrongdoing after an investigation and is back at work. Read more here.

Original story:

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indianapolis Public Schools student and her mother say they are upset over the way employees at Longfellow Middle and High School handled a report of a teacher watching inappropriate images on a classroom computer.

School officials waited several days to file a report with police and the Department of Child Services after learning of the incident, a district spokesperson confirmed.

Paula Hammons is a sophomore at Longfellow. She said she was in a classroom when she heard a pornographic video playing on her teacher’s computer. She told her mother, Michelle Hammons, after school on Friday, November 4.

According to this family, it was not until Monday that the school principal addressed the matter with Paula.

Paula said the principal had the teacher in question come into the office just moments after she reported him.

“That is crazy,” Michelle said. “They put a 17-year-old in danger. They should’ve never put a man in a room with her period.”

Paula adds that other students witnessed the teacher watching pornographic videos on his computer and that one girl even took a photo on Snapchat, a social media platform.

“He shouldn’t be a teacher,” Paula said.

Police are currently investigating and the teacher’s computer has been confiscated.

“Every one of these children are in harm’s way if they kept this man in that school for even this many days after,” Michelle said.

This incident is the third time this year IPS school officials have waited to report a case to DCS, like the law mandates. In September, staff at Carl Wilde School 79 waited to report a case after a mom said her five-year-old daughter was inappropriately touched on school grounds. Earlier in the year, Longfellow employees waited nearly a week to report allegations counselor Shana Taylor was having sex with students. Taylor was later arrested and charged. Two employees faced charges for failure to report and two other employees were fired.

“I want to be clear that it’s our responsibility,” said Mary Ann Sullivan, IPS School Board president. “The board has to own this issue and we do.”

Sullivan says the board intends to have a third party look at the district’s training polices to determine where there are gaps.

“We’re not going to stop until we get this problem solved,” Sullivan said.

No criminal charges have been filed in connection with the latest incident at Longfellow. Five IPS employees are going through the district's internal disciplinary process.

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