Fired Data Scientist Previously Lost FSU Job Over Affair With Student

It’s been quite a wild ride for Rebekah Jones, a 30-year-old data scientist from Florida who had been working with “a team of Florida Department of Health scientists and public health officers to create and design a comprehensive COVID-19 dashboard,” according to the Daily Mail.

Jones claims that she was fired from her job for failing to manipulate coronavirus data, while Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claims she was fired for insubordination and being disruptive.

People have since begun to dig into Jones’ past which led to a investigation regarding her time at Florida State University where she was a PhD student and instructor. Per their research, the mother-of-two was fired from the university for having an affair with one of her students.

The way Jones was caught shows a complete lack of awareness and decision making because she had published a more than 340-page essay detailing her relationship with the student. Jones also shared messages and photos with the student which led to three arrests, including revenge porn and cyberstalking. Jones also claimed her relationships with the student led to a pregnancy.

The New York Post added additional information on why Jones was fired from the team of researchers with the Florida Department of Health, according to Gov. DeSantis and his team.

Jones was more pointed in an email to a West Palm Beach television station WPEC when she said she was removed from her role because she would not “manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” It was unclear what data she was asked to change. Afterward, the governor’s spokeswoman, Helen Ferre, said in an email that Jones had “exhibited a repeated course of insubordination,” asserting that Jones had made “unilateral decisions to modify the Department’s COVID-19 dashboard without input or approval from the epidemiological team or her supervisors.”

Over the course of the past year alone, a handful of teachers have been arrested on similar charges, including 25-year-old substitute teacher Alexis Mercedes Boberg in Baltimore, Beulah High School teacher Kelsie Schmidt in North Dakota, Rancocas Valley Regional High School teacher Alexandra Reiner in New Jersey, and 50-year-old Florida substitute teacher Angela Jean Stanton in Florida. Additionally, Texas teachers Meredith Null and Edna Longoria were arrested on similar charges.

As for why the number of these incidents has seemingly increased, studies suggest that smartphones are the primary reason for the spike in illicit relationships, as it allows teachers to communicate with the minors without supervision.

According to a report from the Texas Education Association, smartphones make easy for teachers to privately text and talk with students and also make it possible for teachers and students to share explicit images.

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