Administrators and teachers Tuesday gave details of how they learned that a Haydock Intermediate School teacher had starred in pornographic videos.
They spoke on the second day of an administrative hearing for Stacie Halas, the eighth-grade science teacher whom the Oxnard School District board voted to fire after students found out about her role in the videos.
Halas, 32, who is on paid leave, is appealing the board decision and has appeared at the hearing on both days. Her lawyer, Richard Schwab, says the videos were made before Halas became a teacher and that she had "reformed."
But district leaders think Halas' past has disrupted student learning and will continue to disrupt the academic environment if she's reinstated.
Mary Arias, assistant principal of Haydock, said students asked many questions about the pornography and that some were visibly upset or crying.
"The incident was so destructive. It was really hard to stabilize the campus," Arias said.
Arias called Halas a well-liked and respected teacher.
"She was one of the cool ones," she said.
But Arias said that if Halas returned, student education would be negatively affected.
The hearing, held at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center and led by Administrative Law Judge Julie Cabos-Owen, could take as many as eight days. Cabos-Owen is joined by two other educators who serve on the Commission on Professional Competence.
Two teachers told Cabos-Owen that they learned about the pornographic material after students reported having seen it. To verify the rumor, Traci Martinez, who teaches English language arts, said she accessed the video from her smartphone and saw Halas. Martinez said she told the assistant principal and showed the administrator the video from her phone.
Students brought up the issue in every class period, Martinez said.
"Students asked, 'Why would she allow those guys to do that to her?' " Martinez said. "They were concerned if pornography is the right thing to do and is it OK to watch it." Read more at the Ventura County Star.