STARKVILLE, Miss. – A Starkville High School teacher is returning to the classroom after being suspended over a student's vegetable-based presentation for how to properly put on a condom.
The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District released a statement Friday saying the teacher, Sheree Ferguson, can return to work.
The statement said administrators had investigated the incident, and Ferguson would face "appropriate disciplinary action." However, it didn't say what that is or when she returns.
The district suspended Ferguson after a student in her English class on Nov. 12 had made a career presentation about becoming a sexologist and used a cucumber to demonstrate condom use.
State law prohibits any kind of demonstration of condom use during sex-education classes. In many districts, the classes teach abstinence only.
"While the condom demonstration that occurred during the presentation is a violation of Mississippi law and school board policy, the resulting personnel issues (go) beyond that scope to include how the employee involved responded during an inquiry regarding the presentation," the school district's statement said.
The announcement about Ferguson's return to work was made after more than three dozen people marched outside Starkville High School on Friday morning to support her.
"You've got a bunch of really bright kids in there and they're passionate about their teacher," Roben Dawkins, the father of one of Ferguson's students, told The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1ladJTD ). "It's their opinion it wasn't the teachers fault, but she's the one having to take responsibility for it in the long run."
Camryn Dawkins, a Starkville High junior, told the Commercial Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1lae6xo ) that she came up with the idea to protest Ferguson's suspension and worked with senior Tyrese Kelly to get word out to students.
"I was in the class when it happened and I just felt that what was done was perfectly OK, and that's my judgment," Dawson said. "I love Ms. Ferg to death. Ms. Ferg is the best English teacher I've ever had and we just wanted to take a stand as students for what we believe in."