Update: Tustin Amole, spokesperson for the Cherry Creek School District, told us on February 28 that a decision about the future of Overland High School teacher Carly McKinney, who was put on leave after news broke about controversial photos and tweets sent from her Twitter account, was likely to come the following day.
Wrong. The district waited for three more weeks, until the info dead zone of a Friday afternoon, to announce that McKinney won't be coming back to the school. Here's the entire release from Amole:
The Overland High School teacher, who was placed on administrative leave after allegations of impropriety arose, is no longer employed by the District. The district will have no further comment as this is a personnel issue.
Note that McKinney's name isn't even mentioned in the statement, and neither does the district say whether she was dismissed, resigned or some combination thereof.
What led to this strange exit for McKinney? Continue for our previous coverage, including photos, tweets and more.
Update, 6:52 a.m. March 4: By this time, we thought there'd be resolution in the case of Carly McKinney, aka CarlyCrunkBear, an Overland High School teacher who received national attention after revelations about drug references and skintastic photos (see NSFW examples below) shared on her Twitter account. In response to an inquiry from Westword on Thursday, Cherry Creek School District spokeswoman Tustin Amole told us via e-mail, "I hope to have something no later than tomorrow afternoon." But those hopes were dashed. Friday came and went without an announcement, and Amole isn't saying when one might arrive.
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This morning, we e-mailed Amole asking for details about why no announcement was made on Friday, and when one might be coming. She responded with a two-word text -- "Nothing yet." Her reply was even more succinct to a followup question about whether there was a timeline on the decision being made public. "No," she wrote, although she added that she would include Westword when the decision is released.
Given that news agencies such as 9News also reported that the decision was pending, Twitter Nation was poised for news. Witness this tweet from a few hours ago featuring the Diplo-endorsed hash tag #freecrunkbear:
Did they #freeCrunkBear yet???
— All I Do Is Win! (@HollywoodUMF) March 3, 2013
The answer to that question is "No" as well -- and at this point, the school district isn't hinting about when that might change. Continue for our previous coverage.
Original post, 9:50 a.m. February 28: Late last month, Overland High teacher Carly McKinney made international headlines after being suspended in the wake of tweets featuring NSFW photos and jokes about drugs; examples below.
Since then, there's been a month of silence from the Cherry Creek School District. But according to a district spokeswoman, that quiet is about to end.
"We are nearing a conclusion," notes the district's Tustin Amole. "I hope to have something no later than tomorrow afternoon."
As we've reported, 9News received a tip about McKinney's account, @crunk_bear, which she told the station she shares with a friend. She insisted that someone with access to the account had posted items without her say-so, including photos like this one....
...and this one. Also featured were tweets like "Naked. Wet. Stoned" and "Watching a drug bust go down in the parking lot. It's funny cuz I have weed in my car in the staff parking lot."
Afterward, McKinney, a first-year teacher still in her probationary period, was put on paid administrative leave so that the school district could look into whether she violated the drug-free-school-zone policy or tweeted on school time.
In regard to the former question, the answer appears to be "no." Last week, 9News reported that McKinney would not face drug charges because the Aurora police "could not substantiate the tweets or find any evidence of any crime."
That leaves possible administrative punishment, and perhaps even dismissal -- not for exercising her right to free speech, presumably, but for other offenses, such as tweeting while on the job.
In the meantime, Twitter Nation has sprang to her defense.
Continue for more about Carly McKinney, including NSFW photos. Among those who defended McKinney on social media was Diplo, an acclaimed DJ and producer who's worked with stars such as M.I.A. , who retweeted the following McKinney photo. It was accompanied by the message, "Listening to @diplo in the shower leads to this... #expressyourself #whitegirlass #twerk #twerkteam." After the McKinney story broke, Diplo tweeted about her situation....
Tomorrow I'm gonna use all my internet mumbojumbo to get #freecrunkbear trending !! Ok so be prepared
— dıpןo (@diplo) January 31, 2013
...and followed up with this:
Ok fuck it.. My peoples let's free crunkbear now!
— dıpןo (@diplo) January 31, 2013
He also shared this graphic:
Even though more than four weeks have passed since then, #freecrunkbear tweets continue to appear. Here are some recent examples:
— Kevin Laines(@brofessorKevin) February 28, 2013
— Kyle Aguilar (@Kyle_ACA) March 4, 2013
— Jackson Lamme (@JacksonLamme1) March 3, 2013
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McKinney's been gone since January, but she's not forgotten.
More from our Follow That Story archive: "Carly McKinney, teacher suspended over hot Twitter posts, backed by #FreeCrunkBear."