A Florida teacher resigned this week after being caught engaging in explicit video chats with her prison inmate boyfriend from her office during school hours, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Donna Barber, 52, a veteran Franklin County teacher, was told she would likely be terminated and instead opted to resign.
The case came to light earlier this month after Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith assigned a staffer to monitor the video chats of inmates at the local lockup.
The observer noted Barber was disrobing during some of her correspondences with inmate Lawrence Ray and engaging in sexually explicit conversation.
A video review of their prior calls revealed Barber was having similarly explicit video conferences with Ray — some from her school office during the workday, according to Smith.
The sheriff released a Facebook video outlining his concerns with inappropriate communications between prisoners and their visitors earlier this month, highlighting Barber’s case.
“I think parents have a right to know who is teaching their children,” Smith told The Post. “That’s why I released this.”
The sheriff said he eventually took down the video after it drew more than 25,000 views because of inappropriate messages left in the comments section.
“Jail is not a resort,” Smith added. “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.”
Smith said an ex of Ray’s who was unaware of his relationship with Barber had entered the chat at one point and the dialogue spun out of control.
While the local state attorney concluded there were no grounds for criminal charges, Barber’s employer launched a probe after Smith released the video.
The school was initially unaware the misconduct took place on campus and later widened its investigation after learning that had been the case.
Barber was told this week the local school board would recommend termination, and she instead chose to step down.
Screenshots released by Smith show both parties on a split-screen, with Barber in her school office and Ray in a cafeteria with other inmates in the background.
Smith said prison video chats have become more common in recent years because they don’t require as much staffing as in-person visits.
A school source said parents and staffers had mixed feelings about Barber’s fate, noting that she was a respected teacher on the verge of retirement after almost 30 years.
But they also argued that corresponding with Ray in the manner she did from a school office was unacceptable.
Those who video conference with an inmate must agree to the prison’s rules, which include language letting them know the correspondence “may be monitored or recorded by the incarcerated person’s correctional facility or by us….Conduct that is illegal or inappropriate in any way, including indecent exposure, will not be tolerated.”
It also says video can be terminated at any time by the employees monitoring them if they deem them to have crossed a line and become inappropriate.
The Franklin County State Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.