The assembly of some 250 Floyd County High School students, members of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), in the school auditorium Friday was supposed to be a discussion about the dangers of drunk driving with a video from the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) and a debate between Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Shortt and lawyer Jonathan Rogers.

It turned into a graphic display of sexual intercourse.

The DVD with the ATLA video stuttered and, according to students at the event, The operator of the computer stopped the DVD and brought up the "favorites" play list on the laptop he was using to show the video. Instead of clicking again on the DVD, students in the auditorim say the operator apparently clicked on one of the videos stored as a "favorite" on the computer’s hard drive and it turned out to be a graphic pornographic film featuring a closeup shot of graphicsex. FCHS teacher and coach Stan Hawkins, who is also the school advisor of SADD, told the Roanoke Times he was adjusting the screen when the porno popped up. What is not clear yet is whether or not the laptop is question was a school unit assigned to a teacher or program or a personal one used for the demostration.

The video was stopped after a few seconds (which witnesses say lasted 5 to 15 seconds) but the damage was done. Accounts of what followed range from "chaos" to "pandemonium." Students whipped out cell phones and started calling people to relate what happened. My Blackberry lit up like a Christmas tree.

FCHS Principal Barry Hollandsworth sent a letter home with students calling the affair a "very unfortunate incident" and telling parents "your child" had been exposed to pornography. Hollandsworth was vague on details but promised a "complete investigation" into what happened.

What happened is that somebody screwed up big time because a pornographic video clip somehow found its way onto the hard drive of a laptop that is used in a public school.

Stay tuned. The school board is meeting on Monday and will probably discuss details of the incident in a closed-door "executive session."

 (Updated on September 14.)

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20 COMMENTS

  1. You know, it’s really sad that everyone is griping about Hawkins doing this. I just recently met this man, but you know, he was one of the sweetest men I’ve met. I can’t believe that one thing happens in Floyd and everyone jumps all over ONE person. That poor poor man is probably crying himself to sleep everynight, I highly doubt he’d do something like on purpose, and had HE downloaded, I have no doubt in my mind that he wouldn’t have had it saved to his harddrive– or even in his “Favorites”.

  2. Nice guys look at porn, too. Looking at porn doesn’t necessarily make a person ‘bad’…however, downloading porn onto a computer that was bought with tax dollars, meant for educational purposes for our children is definitely not a wise thing to do (illegal, perhaps?). As a matter of fact, our children have to sign a letter saying that they will use school owned computers appropriately at the risk of consequences. I can’t help but wonder if things would have ended differently if it had happened to a newly hired teacher as opposed to a well-known community member and reverend.

  3. As a mother of two daughters at the High School I am LIVID! I don’t care whose laptop it is, or how much footage was seen….I want the owner of the “Favorite Pornography” FIRED right now. If the owner of the laptop can’t go through the day without the need for their favorite pornography, they have NO business being associated with young adults. If they can’t take care of their fetishes at home on their own time, I certainly don’t want them getting aroused during class breaks at school.
    How about a little responsibility and accountability from the educators here?
    And how am i going to explain this to my children who have never seen anything like this before? They have yet to have their first kiss or date.

  4. I have the feeling I am sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong in commenting on a situation that doesn’t involve me but does bother me. Personally, I feel badly for Mr. Hawkins and am more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. We were asked not to speculate (which is admittedly difficult, given the circumstances) so I won’t do so publicly. I will say, however, that the most likely scenarios that I’ve come up with involve a teacher who did not know that material was there.

    I don’t think assigning responsibility might be as simple as it looks on the surface. I’m not even sure ownership of the laptop is the key issue, since I can think of a myriad of ways it could have been downloaded by different people. And if I put myself in his shoes, I have to admit that it would not have crossed my mind to look for inappropriate material like this before showing a DVD. Perhaps this will be a new responsibility for teachers in the future, but it seems like this is fairly new territory. Technology is changing faster than organizations can really keep up with. The fact that people knew about this almost immediately after it happened is one proof of this.

  5. I think most of us who have known and interacted with Coach Hawkins are well aware that he is a good person. While this is unfortunate incident, it does need to be investigated to prevent it in the future. However, we need to be extremely careful about passing judgement on character and show support. I bet we all check out video clips now before showing them to anyone.

  6. I agree with M.G. Do not jump to conclusions. There are so many ways someone could have put that on that or any computer. It could be very difficult to find the source or person responsible. In a previous post I stated that if Mr. Hawkins knew that was on that computer, he would have taken great care to NOT open it. None of it makes sense, but let’s take care not to point fingers before we know (or may never know) what happened.

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