Fitchburg special ed aide on leave over modeling photos


FITCHBURG, Mass. ( -- A special education classroom assistant at an elementary school in Fitchburg was placed on paid administrative leave while school officials investigate modeling photos sent to the school last week.

Kaitlin Pearson was placed on leave Friday after school officials received a package of photos in the mail. A number of the pictures, which appear on Facebook and other websites, show the South Street Elementary School aide scantily clad or partially nude.

Andre Ravenelle, the Fitchburg school superintendent, said officials do not typically conduct an online search on prospective employees, and such photos would not show up on the state background checks required of all school employees.

Parents of students are not happy with the photos.

Fitchburg parent Nancy Catterton said, "Children, like my children, look up to teachers like that for support... for guidance to help them with daily life and everything and they go do that?"

Another parent Bobby Norris said, "If she's doing that all and this is involved, that's not good at all. Not at all. That's really weird."

Erica Cutting, Pearson's friend, said, "I don't think it should effect the fact that she's with children. She does that during the day, if she needs to do other things besides that to make money to meet what she needs to pay for her bills, then I think she needs to do what she needs to do."

Pearson started working at the South Street Elementary School and worked with children with severe special needs, according to the superintendent.

Ravenelle said the schools would be working with the teachers' union on the investigation.

School administrators issued a press release, stating that the situation "poses no threat to the student body and is at this time solely a personnel issue."

The release went on to state, "Since the School Department is obligated to protect the safety of students as well as the rights of its employees, there will be no further comment on this issue."

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