When talking about the case of 58-year-old Ohio substitute teacher Sheila Kearns, who was recently convicted of multiple felony counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and sentenced to 90 days in jail for showing the horror anthology film The ABCs Of Death in five high-school Spanish classes, it’s hard to avoid one seemingly objective truth: Kearns was really bad at her job. In fact, someone who shows that level of disinterest in their students—Kearns’ defense largely revolved around her not screening the film beforehand and not paying attention to what was going on in her classroom—probably shouldn’t be allowed to teach at all. But if we sent everyone who was bad at their job to jail for it, then our prisons would be overflowing with Comcast customer service representatives and McDonald’s marketing executives, and nobody wants that. (Well, maybe this lady.)
Anyway, the point is that you don’t have to approve of Kearns’ job performance to think that she shouldn’t have to go to jail to make what appears to be a political statement on the part of Common Pleas Judge Charles A. Schneider. You don’t even have to like the movie—hell, The A.V. Club wasn’t that into it when it came out in 2013—to agree that sending someone to jail for showing teenagers a mainstream movie readily available to them on the Internet or even at the public library is excessive.
That’s why The ABCs Of Death producer Ant Timson has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for Kearns’ appeal. Timson hopes to raise $15,000 for Kearns’ legal fees by March 22; he has already raised more than $5,000 towards that goal, with The ABCs Of Death 2 contributor Rodney Ascher among the first to donate to the campaign. Since this is a simple fundraising drive, there are no rewards for donating to Kearns’ legal fund. But you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you helped keep a 58-year-old grandmother convicted of a victimless crime out of jail and on the streets, where she can maybe get a job at the post office or something.