Two days of conduct hearings concluded Wednesday in the case of Melissa Cairns, a Buchtel Community Learning Center math teacher who faces possible termination for a photo posted on her Facebook page of her students with duct tape on their mouths.

The incident involved a photo of eight students with duct tape over their mouths and a caption that read: “Finally found a way to get them to be quiet!!!” Cairns said her students asked her to take the photo as a joke.

The 33-year-old Kent resident later told Beacon Journal partner WEWS (Channel 5) that posting the photo was “stupid and not well thought out.”

The board of education voted to terminate Cairns during a meeting on Jan. 14 after a “thorough investigation,” board President Jason Haas said. She had been on paid leave since October, when district officials became aware of the photo.

Cairns has been on unpaid leave since Jan. 15. The hearings are the result of an appeal filed by Cairns’ attorney.

Rhonda Porter, attorney for Akron schools, said she plans to cross-examine Cairns today. Students, parents and three of Cairns’ Facebook friends testified on Wednesday.

District spokesman Mark Williamson said the board could reach a final decision concerning Cairns’ employment within 10 days after the hearing concludes.

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) often investigates disciplinary actions related to educator conduct. ODE spokesman John Charlton said he could not confirm or deny that such an investigation has started.

Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com.