Florida Teacher Resigns After Sheriff Reveals Sexual Video Calls with Inmate Boyfriend During School Hours

FILE - In this March 21, 2020, file photo, a fence surrounds the Maricopa County Estrella Jail in Phoenix. At least 300 nonviolent inmates in county jails across Arizona have been released as part of COVID-19 prevention efforts. The largest number of such releases have come in Maricopa County. (AP …
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File, Donna Barber/Linkedin

A Florida teacher resigned this week after she was caught engaging in sexually explicit video chats with her prison inmate boyfriend during school hours while in her office, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.

Donna Barber, 52, a teacher of nearly 30 years in the Franklin County School District, stepped down after being informed she would likely be fired, the New York Post reported.

The case was exposed after Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith assigned a staffer to monitor the video chats of inmates within the local prison. While monitoring, the staffer discovered sexually explicit communication between Barber and prison inmate Lawrence Ray, which included the teacher disrobing during calls.

According to Smith, further review of the couple’s video calls showed Barber sometimes communicated with Ray from her school office during work hours.

Earlier this month, Smith shared a video on Facebook voicing his concerns about inappropriate communication between inmates and visitors in reference to Barber’s case.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

“I think parents have a right to know who is teaching their children,” Smith told the Post. “That’s why I released this.”

However, Smith removed the video after it received several inappropriate comments, Fox News reported.

The local state attorney reviewed the case but determined there was not enough ground for criminal charges. However, Barber’s employer launched an investigation into the allegations. After the school board widened its probe, they recommended that Barber be fired, but she resigned before that occurred.

Smith says that video chat calls among inmates have increased in recent years due to more people since it requires less staffing than in-person visits.

Those who call inmates from outside the prison still have to abide by prison rules, where conversations are monitored, the Post reported, citing the prison. A staffer can end the conversation if they deem the conversation has crossed a line in being inappropriate or if there was any illegal conduct.

“Jail is not a resort,” Smith said. “People in jail need to abide by the rules, you have to have order. Otherwise you can have chaos and it can be dangerous for the staff that has to deal with the inmates.”

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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