Released in 2012, the anthology film ABCs of Death is comprised of 26 vastly-different short films, each one centering on a death scene that’s tied to the letter of the alphabet each director was given. Gory and at times downright disturbing, it’s not the sort of film that’s for the faint of heart, to say the least.
It’s unclear why she did it, but The Columbus Dispatch reports that a substitute Spanish teacher for the Columbus City Schools for whatever reason showed ABCs of Death to her students in April of 2013, their ages ranging from 14 to 18. The 58-year-old woman, Sheila Kearns, does not speak Spanish, and so she would often show the kids movies to keep them occupied.
After one of the students let the school’s assistant principal know that Kearns was showing them R-rated films, the substitute teacher was promptly fired, and she went on trial yesterday in Common Pleas Court. She faces five felony counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, which could land her in prison for five years.
According to Kearns, she had her back to the screen at the time the horror film was shown, and she claims she had no idea that the subject matter was so violent. She also insists that she thought the film was in Spanish, indicating that she showed it to the students as some sort of teaching aide.
Ten men and two women will decide Kearns’ fate, the jury tasked with determining whether the impromptu screening fits the definition of obscenity under Ohio law. In addition to the time she could spend in jail, each of the five charges carries a fine of $2,500.
Personally, I’m not sure the punishment fits the crime here, as five years in prison for showing ANYONE a movie of ANY SORT is quite frankly ridiculous. If anything, Kearns is a neglectful dolt who should’ve known better – but it’s hard to call her a criminal, simply for showing kids a horror movie.
Yes, ABCs of Death is indeed loaded with blood, guts, semen and even feces, as the Assistant Prosecutor points out, but at the end of the day it’s only a movie. Most kids aged 14-18 have already been exposed to plenty of fictional violence, so again it’s hard to really say any damage was done to their minds here.
Give her a slap on the wrist and send her packing. Anything more is a bit excessive.
And why the hell would a school appoint a non-Spanish speaking teacher as the substitute for a Spanish class? Serves them right…