Two 5 year olds – a boy and a girl – in a kindergarten class reportedly went into a classroom bathroom together, and were eventually found naked, telling the teacher they were “having sex!”

The teacher, 15 year veteran Kelly Mascio, did what all she needed to do once finding the kids – she reported the incident to the principal.

But the story takes a more bizarre twist as tenure charges are being filed against her – charges that are being questioned by everyone in the community – and by the local teachers’ union who wonders whether every other disciplinary avenue has been exhausted.

Residents and teachers in this rural community are rallying around a veteran teacher who may lose her job after she found two of her kindergarten students naked in her classroom bathroom and promptly reported it to a principal.

Superintendent Brenda Harring-Marro has filed tenure charges against the teacher, Kelly Mascio, of Mullica Township, said Mullica Township Education Association President Barbara Rheault.

Rheault, who is also a township committeewoman said, “the administration has selected a disciplinary route that has resulted in enormous emotional and professional turmoil, and has strained the confidence and trust of school staff, parents and community members.”

Mascio, who has been teaching for more than 15 years and has children in Mullica Township schools, has been suspended with pay since a Sept. 30 incident in her classroom. According to a police report, two 5-year-olds — a boy and girl — went into the in-classroom bathroom together. Mascio found them naked in the restroom, and they told her they were “having sex,” according to the report.

Mascio immediately reported the incident to Principal Matthew Mazzoni, who in turn advised the Police Department and the state Department of Youth and Family Services, according to the police report. Mascio was immediately suspended.

The police closed the case, finding no reason to pursue criminal charges, according to the report.

The Board of Education met Wednesday night in executive session to determine whether to certify the charges, which would bring the issue before a state arbitrator to decide if Mascio can be fired.

About 200 people came out in Mascio’s support, but the board refused to tell the public whether it had certified the complaint, Rheault said.

She added that Sept. 30 was a highly unusual day, and children were moving in and out of Mascio’s classroom for MAPS benchmark testing.

Mascio declined comment, as did Board of Education Solicitor Will Donio.

Carol Kienzle, of Egg Harbor City, said her nephew’s children had Mascio as a second-grade teacher, and this was Mascio’s first year teaching kindergarten. Kienzle said Mascio is a much beloved teacher and has the support of many parents in the community.

Here’s the pivotal question: is the issue that the children were found together naked in the bathroom “having sex” as they said – or is it that they somehow escaped the gaze of the teacher and went off unsupervised?

To the first point – I don’t think it’s all that unusual for children to go off and “play doctor!” What is unusual is that they refer to it as “having sex!” So one has to wonder where the child (children) picked that up and how – although you can’t pin that one on the teacher.

The more important question is how was it that two children manage to go off by themselves – albeit to an in-classroom bathroom – without being noticed?

Yet, that doesn’t explain how the superintendent can file tenure charges against the teacher, unless there’s something missing.

And as far as we know from the story, the police report no crime had been committed.

Do you feel the kindergarten teacher who found a boy and a girl naked in their classroom bathroom “having sex” deserves to be fired?

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