ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

I can imagine that the kind of programs and films you were exposed to at school were probably pretty suitable for kids your age. Carl Sagan's The Cosmos, perhaps the Planet Earth series, or if your school was anything like mine, endless rewatchings of Shrek whenever a teacher called in sick (subsequently, I know a lot about Shrek, but very little about long division).

However, a group of students at a Columbus, Ohio, high school were recently exposed to something a bit more hardcore, and now their teacher is guilty of a felony for it.

Former substitute teacher, Sheila Kearns, showed the horror-comedy, The ABCs of Death, during five periods of Spanish classes with students ranging from 14 to 18 years of age. She has since been found guilty of "disseminating matter harmful to juveniles" and could potentially receive a prison sentence.

The film, which consists of 26 vignettes each showing a violent death that corresponds to a letter of the alphabet, is officially unrated but includes scenes featuring extreme violence, graphic sexual scenes, and animal cruelty. Indeed, the tagline for the movie is, rather ironically, 'It's Not Educational.'

Kearns claimed she did not know the content of the movie when she showed it, although clearly that doesn't explain why she then showed it an additional four times. Her defence lawyer claimed:

There’s no way you would show that movie with knowledge of its content. I can’t even make up a reason. It’s clear that she didn’t know.

As part of the trial, the jury were asked to watch the movie, and all unanimously agreed the movie fell under the definition of 'obscene' by Ohio law. When Kearns was asked about one scene which includes a masturbation contest, Kearns reportedly replied, "Those kids see worse than that at home."

The jury accepted her argument that she did not know about the content of the film on the first viewing, but they found her guilty for the four additional viewings.

Tim League, a producer of the movie, also added this two-cents to the proceedings, claiming:

I agree with the prevailing sentiment that this is absolutely inappropriate for a substitute teacher to show the film to anyone under the age of 17. It’s not a movie for children.

Kearns currently awaits sentencing.


Do you think this teacher should be guilty of a felony?

Source: IGN


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