A recently-released memo about an ex-Miamisburg teacher’s conduct with students shows school district officials had several concerns more than 15 months before the filing of a criminal report that led to her conviction on sexual battery charges involving a student.
Miamisburg records obtained by this news organization show school administrators documented in February 2016 nine concerns about Jessica Langford’s interactions with Miamisburg Middle School students.
Langford was convicted Friday by a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court jury of three counts of sexual battery and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
The key witness at trial was a student who said he and Langford had sex in her classroom before school on May 23, 2017, his last day as an eighth-grader at the school.
More than a year earlier, the concerns middle school administrators had with Langford’s behavior, according to the February 2016 memo, were:
•CONCERN 1. Male students going to Langford’s classroom to eat lunch. Reported by other staff members. Miamisburg Middle School Assistant Principal Eric Lenski reviews video surveillance, confirms students went to Langford’s classroom for “the past several days.”
On Jan. 7, 2016, Lenski meets with Langford to address concern. On Feb. 2, “after reports that male students were continuing to come to Mrs. Langford’s classroom for lunch,” Lenski sends Langford an email directing her to immediately discontinue that practice, and Lenski issues a verbal warning for Langford.
•CONCERN 2. Students – oftentimes not Langford’s – are allowed to sit behind her desk. Reported by other staff members about Langford and other members of Team 12.
Lenski issues email to Team 12 members to discontinue the practice.
•CONCERN 3. Students coming to Langford’s room to use her pencil sharpener, creating a disruption and using inappropriate language. One student feels Langford is promoting bullying because she is “laughing with the other students after something inappropriate….”
Reported by student. MMS Principal Kelly Thomas and others meet with Langford. Langford is “directed to improve classroom management and ensure her classroom is a safe learning environment…”
•CONCERN 4. Students allowed to use inappropriate language in class or write inappropriate things on chalkboard. Reported by other staff members after a parent’s email. Langford is “directed/reminded to improve classroom management and ensure her classroom is a safe learning environment….”
•CONCERN 5. Non-classroom students coming in Langford’s class to use computers, distracting class. Concern that Langford is spending time talking with them instead of students assigned to class. Lenski asks Team 12 to develop plan to “tighten classroom management plans.”
•CONCERN 6. Students allowed to call Langford by her first name. Thomas talks with Langford, who says it is not happening. Thomas and Lenski direct Langford “to maintain a professional relationship with her students at all times.”
•CONCERN 7. Some students – specifically male students - allowed to sit at or near Langford’s desk to talk about personal issues. Students allowed to use their electronic devices to watch videos and that Langford is watching videos with students. Reported from parents of Langford’s students.
Langford says students watched videos after instruction time was over. The videos were not “inappropriate for viewing by children,” but were not educational or related to the curriculum, Langford says.
Lenski tells Langford to discontinue “allowing students to sit behind her desk” and discontinue allowing students to use cell phones inappropriately. Langford is “directed to maintain a professional relationship with, and distance from, students at all times.”
•CONCERN 8. A male student was sitting at Langford’s desk. Langford “sat on the male student’s lap. Concern was that Mrs. Langford allows students to make inappropriate and sometimes sexual comments towards her.”
“We discovered no evidence that Mrs. Langford allowed students to make inappropriate or sexual comments toward her, or that Mrs. Langford was flirting with students,” Thomas writes. “However, we did note that at times, Mrs. Langford positioned herself more as a ‘friend’ than as an authority figure to her students.”
Middle school administrators also “directed Mrs. Langford that she is strictly prohibited from ever sitting on a student’s lap, and that she must refrain from physical contact with students….“
•CONCERN 9. Student doesn’t feel comfortable approaching Langford in the classroom because the teacher “is preoccupied with other students.” Reported to Thomas in a parent’s email. Thomas talks with Langford about concerns. Lenski asks Langford and other teachers to “tighten classroom management plans.”
Thomas and Lenski “counseled Mrs. Langford to maintain a professional relationship with her students.”