A math teacher at a San Diego high school has been placed on administrative leave while school officials investigate an incident last week in which he was caught shopping for lingerie on eBay during an exam.
His laptop was still connected to the classroom projection screen, showing students exactly what he was perusing. The incident took place while students were taking a math exam.
The teacher, identified by local ABC News affiliate 10 News as Paul Swanson, is also the track coach at Mira Mesa High School, which is located in the San Diego Unified School District. A video of the incident, captured and released by students in his class, has quickly made its way around the Internet. One site even captioned the video “Alge-Bra”.
While he incident took place last week, it only came to light this past Tuesday, when the school’s Principal Jeff Sabins sent a letter home to parents, before the news hit the mainstream media.
Linda Zintz, the communications director for the San Diego Unified School District, issued a statement: “The incident that occurred last Friday is a personnel issue so the district cannot comment on specifics.”
One unnamed student told ABC 10 that while the incident escalated because there were minors in the classroom, he pointed out that “there was not nudity or anything, it was just lingerie. I don’t support it, but I don’t think he should lose his job.”
Conversely, the parent of a sophomore at the school has been the most vocal opponent to Swanson. Catherine Castillo old ABC 10 “He never even looked up, it’s not even just the fact of what he did, but what is he doing in class? He’s sitting there doing nothing. The complete lack awareness of what’s going on in his classroom, if nothing else, is ridiculous.”
However, the students who recorded the incident could also face punishment. 10 News reports that Mira Mesa High has strict guidelines about recording, which may have been violated during the incident. One of them reportedly includes “spreading information or pictures to embarrass,” which falls under the category of cyberbullying in many school districts.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.