Teacher convicted of four felonies for showing horror movie to teens
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A substitute high school teacher faces substantial prison time after she screened a horror movie for teenaged students.
Sheila Kearns, 58, was charged with five felonies after she showed the film “The ABCs of Death” to five different Spanish classes at East High School on April 11, 2013, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Kearns was convicted on four counts of “disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.” She faces up to four years in state prison.
The film, a 26-part anthology with a “cult” fan following, features pervasive violence and nudity. It is available through Netflix and other mainstream services, but is not generally considered appropriate for minors.
Students in the classes that saw it ranged in age from 14 to 18.
The crime was discovered when a student complained to another teacher about the film, and that teacher went to a vice principal. Kearns continued to teach at the school until May of 2013, and she was indicted in February of 2014.
Defense attorney Geoffrey Oglesby argued that Kearns had not previewed the movie, which she believed was fully in Spanish. In reality, only some portions of the movie are in Spanish, and the film is not intended to be educational.
“It was a mistake that the state wants to turn into a crime,” he said before trial.
With multiple felonies on her record, Kearns’ teaching career is most likely over.