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Substitute teacher convicted of screening The ABCs Of Death sentenced to 90 days in jail

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We recently wrote about a substitute teacher in Columbus, Ohio who was convicted of a felony—four counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, specifically—after showing the horror anthology film The ABCs Of Death to a series of five high-school Spanish classes.

At the time, lawyers for Sheila Kearns, the substitute in question, argued that she had no idea what the movie was about and simply showed it because she thought it was in Spanish (as three out of the 26 segments are). They also said she had her back turned to the TV and didn’t see the sex and violence unfolding on the screen. Basically, they argued that she was bad at her job. The idea that putting someone in jail for showing a commercially available movie that any of Kearns’ students could have bought on Amazon, no matter how distasteful the judge found the content of said movie, is kind of insane never entered the picture.


Well, apparently Common Pleas Judge Charles A. Schneider is using Kearns’ case to make a point, as The Columbus Dispatch reports that the 58-year-old has been sentenced to 90 days in jail. Schneider also placed Kearns on probation for three years, with the jail time a condition of her probation. In his decision, Schneider used the case as an example of the dismal state of Columbus City Schools, saying, “They put a permanent substitute in a high-school Spanish class who can’t speak Spanish at all. Here we are, with the Columbus public schools telling us what wonderful things (they) are doing.”

Kearns has been ordered to report to jail on April 10, with a possibility of delaying the sentence if she appeals her conviction. Her substitute-teaching license has also been permanently revoked.