Who is Donna Barber? Florida teacher resigns after sheriff exposes sexual video calls with inmate partner
FRANKLIN COUNTY, FLORIDA: The Franklin County Sheriff's Office states that Donna Barber, a teacher in Florida, resigned last week when it was discovered that she was engaging in explicit video conversations with her prisoner partner, Lawrence Ray, from her school office while classes were in progress.
Barber, 52, of Franklin County, decided to retire after learning that she would probably be terminated. The situation came to light earlier this month after Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith ordered a staff member to monitor inmates' video chats at the local jail. One of the staff members saw that during some of Barber's correspondences with prisoner Ray, she was taking off her clothes and having explicit sexual conversations. Smith stated that a video assessment of their earlier conversations revealed Barber and Ray were holding similarly explicit video conferences, some from Barber's school office throughout the workday.
Earlier this month, the sheriff highlighted Barber's case in a Facebook video in which he expressed his concerns about improper interactions between inmates and visitors. "I think parents have a right to know who is teaching their children. That's why I released this," he told New York Post.
The sheriff claimed that after the video received more than 25,000 views, he eventually removed it because of unpleasant remarks. "Jail is not a resort," Smith stated. "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."
Florida teacher Donna Barber, 52, 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.👎"Couldn't wait until you got home Donna?" pic.twitter.com/65bHGh3qu5— Sumner (@renmusb1) January 24, 2023
Smith claimed that at one time, Ray's ex who wasn't aware of his relationship with Barber entered the discussion and the conversation spiraled out of control. Barber's employer opened an investigation after Smith made the video public even though the local state attorney found no cause for criminal charges.
At first, the school was unaware that the wrongdoing had occurred on campus; however, after finding that it had, it expanded its investigation. This week, Barber was informed that the local school board will recommend that she be fired, but she chose to resign instead. Smith claimed that prison video chats have increased in popularity recently because they don't require as much supervision as in-person visits.
Parents and staff members had differing opinions about Barber's termination, according to a school source, who noted that the respected teacher had been teaching for close to 30 years and was about to retire. However, they maintained that it was improper for her to communicate with Ray in the way that she did from a school office.