High school teacher jailed for showing ABCs of Death to class

ABCsSheila Kearns, a former teacher, has been jailed for showing the film ABCs of Death to her Spanish-language classes at East High School in Columbus, Ohio in April 2013.

Common Pleas Judge Charles A. Schneider sentenced Kearns to 90 days in jail for allowing her pupils (aged between 14 to 18) to watch the violent and sexually explicit film, which climaxes on a sequence involving a female Nazi having her massive prosthetic penis chopped up. Schneider also had strong words for the local public school system: “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 went on trial back in January on five felony counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. In court, she claimed that she had not watched the film beforehand and had her back to it during the classroom screening, and so was unaware of its explicit content. Schneider threw out this defence, saying that “There’s no way you’ll persuade me that’s what happened.” One pupil testified that the film was “disturbing” and that her classmates were “going crazy” about it.

The jury acknowledged that, while Kearns may have been unaware of the film’s content at the time of the first screening, that does not excuse the four subsequent screenings.

Tim League, one of the film’s producers, stated that he initially thought the story a hoax. “I agree with the prevailing sentiment that this is absolutely inappropriate for a substitute teacher to show anyone under the age of 17,” he said. “It’s not a movie for children.”