Theodore Roosevelt teacher on paid leave after pornographic images surface

Erin Zaranec

A Theodore Roosevelt High School teacher went on paid administrative leave Sept. 9 after sexually explicit images surfaced on social media.

Accounts featuring pornographic images and videos of Kristin Sundman, a 31-year-old assistant band director, were found by students under the alias Melody Tune.

All social media accounts under Sundman’s name and alias were deactivated on Sept. 9, including a personal profile on pornographic website,

Although administration could not confirm the details of her leave, superintendent George Joseph said the school did respond quickly when rumors began to spread.

The first images of Sundman were posted on Twitter by 2015 Stow High School graduate Yadin Gloi. He tweeted a series of images of Sundman, both by herself and with another woman. 

Prior to being deactivated, the bio for the Melody Tune’s Twitter account stated ‘MFC Model! 18+ ONLY!’ and was a public profile. 

“A sixth grader from Kent found the teacher on (a pornographic website) and word spread around fast. I received the photos yesterday and put it on Twitter,” Gloi said. “After that, word spread like county-wide and that’s when the pictures started to get around.”

Although no inappropriate behavior has been reported in the classroom setting, the school did have a legal right to place her on leave and would have the right to fire her.

“Teachers are subject to the terms of their contract and the collective bargaining agreement,” Paul Mastriacovo, Attorney and Counselor at Law said. “Even though a teacher may have the proper educational requirements and have the proper teaching certificate, if the contact has a ‘morality’ requirement as one of its terms, a teacher can be terminated for violating that part of the contract.”

Morals and ethics are the hot topic of Sundman’s situation. To date, the school system has no definitive proof of the teacher’s extra-curricular career taking place during her employment at the school. However, these images have now interfered with the learning environment Sundman works in.

Dr. Alicia Crowe, interim associate dean for Student Services and undergraduate education, said that Kent State’s School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies tries to prepare students for the risks their personal life could cause in the education profession.

“One of the things we talk about most is social media and how easy it is for misconceptions to be perceived through the web,” Crowe said. “You may have a red solo cup with milk in it, you may not even be a drinker but it can appear that way in certain images.”

Se said the school’s professors encourage students to check the privacy settings of their accounts, but even more importantly, to not post anything they would be embarrassed to have a student see – regardless of privacy settings.

“The line between public and private has been blurred quite a bit,” Crowe said. “In the past 10 years we have continually allowed a sense that everybody is allowed to see everything, when that shouldn’t be the case.”

While she would not comment specifically on Sundman’s case due to a lack of details, Crowe did comment on the high standards placed on educators by the general public and educator’s need to self-censor to avoid scandal in their school systems.

“We often talk about ethical cases with students and one of the biggest things is, where is the ethical line? Is there a line being crossed that does damage to children or minors?” Crowe said.

Steve Turner, Associate Professor in the School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies echoed Crowe’s statements.

He said that he encourages students to step back and look at their behavior prior to posting online.

“We want you to express yourself, you have the First Amendment right,” Turner said. “However, we are in a profession where people form an idea about you from what they see immediately.”

The most important thing Turner said, is making sure students have a distraction-free environment that allows them to focus on learning. Sundman’s actions put students at risk to be highly distracted in the classroom.

“If the student has questions about ‘OK, I know you were doing something strange on Friday night,’ it is going to be really difficult to teach that student,” Turner said.

Sundman has not been able to be reached for comment on her case.

Maggie Willgues, junior integrated language arts major, said she was shocked to hear of Sundman’s actions.

“As a future teacher, I don’t think you should be working in the porn industry when working with students, especially minors,” Willgues said. “I’m someone who totally believes that what you do behind closed doors is your business, but as a teacher you really need to keep those things behind closed doors and not put it out there on the Internet.”

Erin Zaranec is the student life reporter for The Kent Stater. She can be contacted at [email protected]