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Texas Teacher fired for topless photos

  • Joined 2/25/00
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Art teacher in hot water over topless photos Saturday, June 17, 2006 Posted: 1918 GMT (0318 HKT)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Until they found the topless photos, Austin High School officials considered Tamara Hoover an excellent art teacher with a knack for helping students find their creativity.

Now, she's fighting for her job.

The photos, which were posted on Flickr.com by her partner, depict Hoover in the shower, lifting weights, getting dressed, in bed and doing other routine activities.

Hoover said Friday the photos are art and makes no apologies.

"I'm an artist and I'm going to participate in the arts," Hoover said. "If that's not something they want me to do then I want to be told that. I don't feel as if I was doing anything that was beyond expectations."

The school district said the photos were inappropriate and violate the "higher moral standard" expected of public school teachers. As she was escorted out of class last month she was told that she's become an ineffective teacher.

The district wants to revoke her teaching certification, which would keep her out of Texas classrooms permanently. Hoover will appeal the ruling and is prepared to take the case to court, she said.

Hoover's abrupt dismissal highlights a new concern for employees: Your boss has Internet access, too.

"People don't realize when they put their entire diary out there, they're giving very private information to the public," said Kate Brooks, director of career services for liberal arts students at the University of Texas at Austin.

The photos came to light last month as a result of a feud over ceramics equipment with another art teacher, according to sworn affidavits. Students who had seen the pictures showed the teacher, who then notified school officials.

Austen Clements, one of Hoover's students, noted that many artists have nude pictures, including Georgia O'Keeffe.

"If Georgia O'Keeffe wanted to teach at Austin High, I don't think they'd say, 'No, you have nude pictures online,"' Clements said.

The school was attended by President Bush's daughters, Barbara and Jenna.

We are the keepers of Funny, the Judges, the Whisperers. We are Superior Naysayers And Rebukers of Knavery. We are SNARK. - Boosh!

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  • Joined 2/25/00
  • 13233
  • Post #1
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

Art teachers' spat brought photos to light In documents released by district, Austin High principal said pictures of Hoover were 'disturbing.' By Raven L. Hill AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF Friday, June 16, 2006

An argument between two Austin High School art teachers over an oven for firing pottery sparked an investigation into nude Internet photos that has put one's job in jeopardy.

In response to a request under the Texas Public Information Act, Austin school district officials Wednesday released some of the information reviewed by school board members before their vote on Monday to begin termination proceedings against Tamara Hoover, who appeared nude in pictures posted online. Officials said grounds for her termination are that she failed to meet standards of professional conduct and that publicity and knowledge of the incident have diminished her effectiveness. Hoover could argue her case in a hearing before trustees make a final decision in August.

Hoover and fellow art teacher Gayle Andrews had argued for most of the school year over a kiln, according to Andrews' signed affidavit. After a confrontation on May 15, students told Andrews that they knew how to get Hoover in trouble and told Andrews to look at pictures on a photo-sharing Web site. Andrews said she initially ignored the information but asked a student to show her the site a few days later.

Another student told Andrews that "hundreds" of students knew about the site, Andrews said in her affidavit. "I believe this, because when you look at the site, there are comments from many students and photos of people that other students tell me are students here."

The photographer, Celesta Danger, said Thursday that student photographs are not included among those on her site. Furthermore, Danger said, she has removed several of Hoover's pictures from the site as of Thursday. A note on her site reads: "After Tamara was fired from her job as an AISD high school art teacher, I am removing many images of her for the time being."

Hoover and her attorney canceled an interview for this story scheduled for Thursday, but Hoover by phone denied that she directed students to the Web site or that students were featured in any pictures.

"I never told students to go to the Web site," she said. Hoover, who is on paid administrative leave, maintains that the photographs were art and not pornography.

Andrews said she stopped looking at the photos once she realized that she was viewing them with children on a school district computer. She informed a co-worker about the pictures May 19.

The documents also include statements from former Austin High Principal Barbara Spelman and Assistant Principal Andrew Lofters.

Hoover was in the final year of a three-year contract at the Central Austin school where she has taught since 2000. Her contract had recently been extended for three years.

Spelman said in an affidavit that the "pictures of Ms. Hoover were quite disturbing."

Hoover acknowledged posting some photos in her gallery and said that a friend had posted others, Spelman said.

Posting the photographs does not violate Texas criminal statutes, according to a district police investigation.

Will Harrell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said his group hasn't dealt with a case like Hoover's.

"I'm not familiar with somehing like this happeing in Texas, and I've certainly not heard of it happening in Austin."

Harrell said he has not seen the pictures but that he was surprised by the outcry given Austin's reputation as liberal and artsy.

"Austin is sort of an arts mecca in the state of Texas. What kind of message is it sending to the kids who embrace that? The art implies nothing as to the efficacy or the professionalism of this woman on the job," Harrell said.

"She can speak and express herself freely outside of the school. There's been an embarrassing overreaction to this. I hope that reasonable minds prevail."

We are the keepers of Funny, the Judges, the Whisperers. We are Superior Naysayers And Rebukers of Knavery. We are SNARK. - Boosh!

  • Joined 2/25/00
  • 13233
  • Post #2
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamarah/">www.flickr.com/photos/tamarah/</a>

We are the keepers of Funny, the Judges, the Whisperers. We are Superior Naysayers And Rebukers of Knavery. We are SNARK. - Boosh!

  • Joined 1/16/01
  • 12597
  • Post #3
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

Good for her for standing up for herself and not being ashamed of her work. Shame on the school board. Given the context of the other photos, the nude photos (which aren't there anymore) were probably as far from "porny" as possible.

Sadly this whole debacle is going to provide a good lesson for her students - how you have to fight lunkheads and closed minded moral police in order to express yourself, especially if you are a woman who wants to be sexual and intelligent at the same time. A nice little microcosm of a battle that has been going on in several different media for ages.

  • Joined 7/21/03
  • 1871
  • Post #4
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

Man... at my (arts) high school, nude models were regularly brought in to classrooms and the resulting art proudly displayed all over the halls.

  • Joined 1/20/99
  • 14727
  • Post #5
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

As much as I defend the First Amendment and protected speech, et al, if your actions harm your ability to perform your job duties (i.e. a gym trainer who gets fat) than you should expect that there will be professional reprecussions. There's very little likelihood that she can have a respectful teacher-student dynamic after this.

Having pictures of her half-nude is quite possibly done for artistic not lascivious purposes. However this point will be completely lost on a large majority of her students and certainly her students parents. So she has lost a good bit of her ability to teach effectively at that point.

Also she CHOSE to post them on the public webernets. They could have been shown in a gallery where at least some effort would have to be made for the students and parents to see the images, and would have contextualized the art better. But no, she chose the most public and distributed means of making the images available.

I don't think she should have been fired. But she should have exercised better judgement if she wanted to keep her job. I don't think getting fired is beyond the pale for her actions. SHE'S IN TEXAS, AFTER ALL. That [bleep!] wouldn't fly in New York, there's no way any school board would find it acceptable in texas.

  • Joined 1/16/01
  • 12597
  • Post #6
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "Slick Rik"
As much as I defend the First Amendment and protected speech, et al, if your actions harm your ability to perform your job duties (i.e. a gym trainer who gets fat) than you should expect that there will be professional reprecussions. There's very little likelihood that she can have a respectful teacher-student dynamic after this. Having pictures of her half-nude is quite possibly done for artistic not lascivious purposes. However this point will be completely lost on a large majority of her students and certainly her students parents. So she has lost a good bit of her ability to teach effectively at that point. Also she CHOSE to post them on the public webernets. They could have been shown in a gallery where at least some effort would have to be made for the students and parents to see the images, and would have contextualized the art better. But no, she chose the most public and distributed means of making the images available. I don't think she should have been fired. But she should have exercised better judgement if she wanted to keep her job. I don't think getting fired is beyond the pale for her actions. SHE'S IN TEXAS, AFTER ALL. That [bleep!] wouldn't fly in New York, there's no way any school board would find it acceptable in texas.

That's ridiculous, Rik. She's a high school ART teacher! If she were an elementary school teacher or a preschool/special ed teacher you might be able to make a different point - but as an art teacher, there's absolutely no reason why she can't make expressive artistic photos part of her life. Part of the artistic education process is sharing a piece of yourself with your students. It's not like English class where the teacher stands in front and tells you stuff - art class is wholly different - much more holistic.

And who cares if she's in Texas? Is Texas now allowed to stifle its teachers because they're a bunch of backward ultraconservatives afraid of ANYTHING remotely sexual? Because that's somehow okay over there but not in NYC or LA? Come on. Who cares if she's in Texas, Kansas, or Liberal Heathenville, USA?

This story isn't about a teacher who messed up - this is about how sick our culture is that we can't look at breasts or female nudity of any kind without thinking of it in a sexualized context. The naked form is one of the most beautiful and perfect shapes in nature. We should be able to see this without adding all this kind of sexual promiscuity overtones to it.

Could she have used better judgement? Yeah. I wouldn't have put those up unless they were friends-only or whatever. But is it worth losing her job over? Hardly. They should be happy they have a teacher who is actively expressing herself and providing a model example to her students of how to be an independent voice in the art community. A quiet warning followed by a discreet removal of the photos would have satisfied me.

She didn't get fired because of her actions. She got fired because we live in a society where women aren't allowed to be sexual AND be role models/intelligent thinkers/tasteful people. This battle between the armies of "decency and good taste" and people who actually want to change the world or express themselves has been going on for ages.

I wish she had been my art teacher. Maybe I would have learned something about individual struggle to see your creative vision survive before college. By removing a teacher like this from the school you basically neuter the point of the art program at a school - to teach children how to be tasteful executors and appreciators of art. Now all we've taught them is that boobies are evil.

  • Joined 3/21/04
  • 3125
  • Post #7
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

At least she didn't try to claim they were photoshopped.

  • Joined 1/16/01
  • 12597
  • Post #8
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "earlier, I"
It's not like English class where the teacher stands in front and tells you stuff - art class is wholly different - much more holistic.

An aside - I don't mean to imply that the only way to teach English is by standing in front of the class and lecturing, but my point is that an art class or any creative endeavour class - music, writing, drama - implies a certain amount of personal-emotional connection with your students, whereas an AP class on US history or English literature doesn't require that kind of personal soul-baring to be effective.

  • Joined 6/14/04
  • 662
  • Post #9
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

Unfortunately, when you become a teacher you give up some of your personal freedom. A school is a place where all of your personal freedoms no longer apply, this is done so that students can learn what the teacher is trying to instruct and not be confuddled with all the other debates that might come up over the subject.

The teacher should have excercised better judgement and should not let those be posted online. I actually have a friend who recently had to turn down an opportunity to pose nude for a photographer friend. Instead of getting paid for any print he sold of her, she decided to pay him to take photos with the condition that they could never be published. As a teacher, students need to see you in a completely nutural light and unfortunately... nude photos make that light no longer nutural.

Sad to say, but the teacher unfortunately deserves some sort of repremendation... not because I agree she deserve it, but because of what the purpose of schooling is.

  • Joined 8/14/01
  • 10439
  • Post #10
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

It's homophobic too. The fact she's a lesbian preobably didn't help her case for morality in Texas.

The fact that it's Texas does matter, Marcelo. The concept of "community standards" is very important in American policy and jurisprudence. There's a difference between Texas and California, and we all know it.

Finally, no one said she couldn't be artistic. But did it have to be art with boobies? Again, knowing the community standards, AND the fact she teaches teenagers, isn't it irresponsible to say that she can post boobie pictures on the Net and there would not be any question of her judgment?

Sure, one way to effect social change is to challenge norms and standards. But maybe this particular career is not the best position from which to challenge this particular social norm.

It's true that teachers are held to a higher standard. My 7th grade math teacher was rumored to have been in Playboy like 15 years prior to my time in her class, and we ALL knew the rumor and it did make me look at her differently than the other teachers. and that's just the rumor, not the pics themselves!!!

In this case, to me, there is a conflict between her desire to make artistic statements without considering context and her position as a youth leader.

She absolutely should not be fired, but she should acknowledge this was maybe not a smart move, rather than defending and speechifying.

  • Joined 10/29/02
  • 3885
  • Post #11
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

It was irresponsible of her to post the pictures publicly on flickr, but are we honestly saying that teachers shouldn't have a life outside of school...ever?

Like the case of Atalanta's teacher. Of course I don't know that particular situation, but let's say the woman had posed for playboy 15 years prior to entering teaching, and 15 years later those pictures surface somewhere. Assuming she's a good teacher, she should lose her job because she had a life before she was a teacher? What if I head down to Mardi Gras next year, flash for some beads, some random person snaps a photo and somehow that photo is found on the internet. I teach little kids, but I'm also a human, and an adult. Personally were I to have possesion of those pictures I wouldn't post them publicly on an internet site, but what if I happened to be unaware the pictures existed. I'd hate to think I could lose my job because I have a life outside or school that has nothing to do with my job.

  • Joined 5/10/00
  • 3791
  • Post #12
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "America"
Unfortunately, when you become a teacher you give up some of your personal freedom. A school is a place where all of your personal freedoms no longer apply, this is done so that students can learn what the teacher is trying to instruct and not be confuddled with all the other debates that might come up over the subject.

You must be joking right? You give up personal freedoms when you become a teacher?

Quoted from "America"
The teacher should have excercised better judgement and should not let those be posted online.

Possibly...

Quoted from "America"
Sad to say, but the teacher unfortunately deserves some sort of repremendation... not because I agree she deserve it, but because of what the purpose of schooling is.

Yes, maybe a letter asking or requesting her to be more discrete.

The purpose of schooling? How does nude modeling run contrary to be a teacher and the purpose of schooling? She is an art teacher for crying out loud. What kind of christian bull hit is this? Children can see hours of violence by seeing XMen III but someone gets fired if they see a breast?

If she was in New York she could sunbathe topless. Should she get a reprimand for that? This is a violation of first amendment rights

Is this women gay? Maybe that was taken into consideration? Hmmmmmmm

  • Joined 10/29/02
  • 3885
  • Post #13
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "America"
Unfortunately, when you become a teacher you give up some of your personal freedom. A school is a place where all of your personal freedoms no longer apply, this is done so that students can learn what the teacher is trying to instruct and not be confuddled with all the other debates that might come up over the subject.

So, in two years when I'm finished with my degree, if I decide I want to have a baby, and I choose to do so without being married, I should be fired, or at least reprimanded...since that could in fact spark some debate or controversial conversation?

  • Joined 5/10/00
  • 3791
  • Post #14
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "Atalanta"
It's homophobic too. The fact she's a lesbian preobably didn't help her case for morality in Texas.

BINGO!

  • Joined 5/10/00
  • 3791
  • Post #15
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

Would this have happened it were a charcoal, etching, watercolor or oil painting?

Who are these idiots to judge what art is?

  • Joined 12/6/05
  • 2
  • Post #16
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

Some background info: Tamara and her partner Celesta (the photographer) both have flickr accounts, and they would sometimes add photos to the Austin pool. Celesta is very talented, so I always enjoyed viewing their posts. I don't recall ever seeing their nudes posted to the Austin group.

I also periodically browsed their accounts and saw the now-notorious photos before they were pulled. The amount of nudity in the overall set was small, and those photos that exposed either of them were normally in mundane situations, as one of the news sites noted. A few had light bondage themes with wrists cuffed. When nudity was present, it was usually limited to breasts, and when other areas were exposed, they were in heavy shadow.

I also met the two of them at Whole Foods one time, and they were both very nice, very sociable.

Worth noting: Texas law allows women to be topless in public. Also, exposure to children is definitely acceptable in this society and most others. You may go to the newly opened Austin Museum of Art and see any number of children on school fieldtrips milling around copies of famous, nude statues or viewing photographs and paintings of similar nature. The MPAA also allows some nudity in PG-13 movies, especially if it is deemed non-sexual.

Cases like this present interesting boundary conditions. Just one example: numerous academy award and tony winners have appeared nude in performances. Are they prohibited from teaching children?

-lg

alf alf
  • Joined 10/18/05
  • 1682
  • Post #17
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "equivoque"
Would this have happened it were a charcoal, etching, watercolor or oil painting? Who are these idiots to judge what art is?

The Yehoodistrators have suspended people for posting naked pictures.

  • Joined 10/29/02
  • 3885
  • Post #18
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "alf"
Quoted from "equivoque"
Would this have happened it were a charcoal, etching, watercolor or oil painting? Who are these idiots to judge what art is?
The Yehoodistrators have suspended people for posting naked pictures.

But not artwork...I don't think.

And, I'm assuming there's something about content standards in the user agreement we all had to agree to. Nothing in my contract says I can't pose nude...I've read my contract and it says I'll work when they say, where they say for however much they decide to pay me.

  • Joined 6/14/04
  • 662
  • Post #19
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

I never said I really agreed with it.

I believe teachers should be able to challenge their students' mindsets outside the traditional classroom teachings... unfortunately, this is possible in today's educational set up.

As a teacher you do give up some of your personal freedoms. If you're teaching a US government class you can't express your possibly negative believes about the present government, if you're teaching a biology class, some states don't allow you to teach the evolution versus creationism debate or they don't allow you to teach one side of it. To clarify, this is in a common public school system. I'm not talking about your specific private, charter, or what have you school... This is done so students are able to make up their own mind on a subject without being persuaded one way or another. Some states believe that it isn't the place of the teacher to even introduce a subject to a student.

This frustrates me because students aren't being exposed to certain areas of subjects that I feel they're missing out on it... but at the same time I understand the need to limit in order to possibly make the education they're receiving more effective. This is a tough call for both the teacher and the district.

  • Joined 5/10/00
  • 3791
  • Post #20
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "alf"
Quoted from "equivoque"
Would this have happened it were a charcoal, etching, watercolor or oil painting? Who are these idiots to judge what art is?
The Yehoodistrators have suspended people for posting naked pictures.

Yes, it is their site and their rules and this has nothing to do with this case...

  • Joined 10/29/02
  • 3885
  • Post #21
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "America"
As a teacher you do give up some of your personal freedoms. If you're teaching a US government class you can't express your possibly negative believes about the present government, if you're teaching a biology class, some states don't allow you to teach the evolution versus creationism debate or they don't allow you to teach one side of it. ... This frustrates me because students aren't being exposed to certain areas of subjects that I feel they're missing out on it... but at the same time I understand the need to limit in order to possibly make the education they're receiving more effective. This is a tough call for both the teacher and the district.

I completely disagree. I don't think it's a teacher's job to go into a classroom and force their opinions on their students, but I think it would definitely be fair (and the job) of a high school government teacher to discuss different political systems and why some people do and don't like each of them. And as for biology class issues...there are larger problems there... And as a teacher it is definitely your job to rock the boat, through the proper channels, to challenge district or state decisions that limit your ability to actually educate children. Often, you're going to be the only voice they have. If you aren't using it, you're not doing your job.

This teacher did not present the pictures to her class. So in my mind this is none of the disrict's business.

  • Joined 5/10/00
  • 3791
  • Post #22
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "America"
I never said I really agreed with it. I believe teachers should be able to challenge their students' mindsets outside the traditional classroom teachings... unfortunately, this is possible in today's educational set up. As a teacher you do give up some of your personal freedoms. If you're teaching a US government class you can't express your possibly negative believes about the present government, if you're teaching a biology class, some states don't allow you to teach the evolution versus creationism debate or they don't allow you to teach one side of it. To clarify, this is in a common public school system. I'm not talking about your specific private, charter, or what have you school... This is done so students are able to make up their own mind on a subject without being persuaded one way or another. Some states believe that it isn't the place of the teacher to even introduce a subject to a student. This frustrates me because students aren't being exposed to certain areas of subjects that I feel they're missing out on it... but at the same time I understand the need to limit in order to possibly make the education they're receiving more effective. This is a tough call for both the teacher and the district.

Yes, but if she was completely crazy or daft she could teach a class on creationism or Tarot cards (both equally scientific and at least Tarot is entertaining) in her own time.

She took/posed for these photos in her own private time. By the way-HELLO art! Art teacher To say that she can t pose for photos in her own time is just some religious BS!

Your argument is completely without merit.

  • Joined 1/16/01
  • 12597
  • Post #23
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

I think the fact that she's an art teacher is what is affecting my argument here. If she were an English lit teacher or a math teacher it would be a different story, but in the case of teaching art, having personal freedom and exercising it expressively and without constrait is kind of vital to the creation of an environment where art education can flourish.

And BS on community standards, Atalanta. Community standards don't apply when they are put up against the rights of the individual. According to your rationale, a community standard of racism or sexism would be A-okay, and therefore a community would be well within its rights to hire only white male teachers or something, because that's the standard.

Besides, we are a country of laws and rights, not a country of various community standards which are arbitrariliy applied instead of law. Her right to express herself freely and without fear of government reprisal for being a lesbian or for pushing a boundary or a taboo should be protected in spite of the community standard that says that in Texas you shouldn't do that kind of thing. Certainly you're not saying that community standards somehow trump the protections of the First Amendment or the general value we place on artistic expression? I would argue that (a) community standards aren't absolute, (b) one who is "different" shouldn't be penalized for violating such a standard if that standard is not law, and (c) even if she violated a standard, her right to do as she pleases in spite of a generally-agreed-upon community standard is more valuable than the standard itself.

And besides, if the ex-lurker's post is true, the community standards of a place like Austin are not that strict, and if anything create a double standard where we can look at breasts in a museum but not on the internet.

I'm not saying she wasn't irresponsible. But if I were the principal of that school I'd quietly and discreetly call her into my office and have a word with her about the pictures, and explain that it might be disruptive to keep them online and politely ask her to take them down or to make them private/friends only. In four years those students would be gone and it wouldn't be a problem. And besides, an art teacher who has posed nude could serve as an example of how to look at the human body without shame. Isn't that her job, to teach these budding minds how to look at something of great beauty and appreciate it?

Point is a compromise situation was COMPLETELY possible, and her firing is draconian and smacks of righteous moral posturing.

alf alf
  • Joined 10/18/05
  • 1682
  • Post #24
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "jphilli1"
And, I'm assuming there's something about content standards in the user agreement we all had to agree to. Nothing in my contract says I can't pose nude...I've read my contract and it says I'll work when they say, where they say for however much they decide to pay me.

Do you work in the same school district as Tamara Hoover? Do you have the same employment contract? If not then it doesn't matter what's in your contract or what's in my contract. It matters what's in her contract.

If there's a clause in Tamara Hoover's contract that allows the school district to terminate employment for having topless pic online, she violated the agreement. There are consequences like when a user posts naked pictures on Yehoodi. If there's no clause like that in her contract, she has grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. If that's true it's a legal issue not a moral one.

  • Joined 7/21/03
  • 1871
  • Post #25
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

For me, the argument stops here: What a person does in his or her personal life should not have anything to do with their professional life, unless it involves a criminal offense which directly applies to the conditions of the job (i.e. day care worker charged with a sexual offense; truck driver charged with a DWI).

I really don't care whether she taught art or English or math, or whether she was a doctor or a lawyer or a police woman. What she did was entirely within her rights. End of story.

alf alf
  • Joined 10/18/05
  • 1682
  • Post #26
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "equivoque"
Yes, it is their site and their rules and this has nothing to do with this case...

If that's true the logic goes both ways. It's their school district and their rules in Texas. Why are you discussing it on a lindyhop board based in New York?

I brought it up because people are trying to make this case a moral argument.

  • Joined 1/16/01
  • 12597
  • Post #27
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

Because it's national news.

Are you saying that people shouldn't discuss news that happens in other parts of the country?

What ARE you saying? That because it didn't happen in our community we should be indifferent to it? Community standards aren't some blank check you can apply when you want to do something contrary to the spirit of national law.

(I get your point about contracts and whether it was part of the clause, but seriously, what's your point about NYC?)

  • Joined 10/29/02
  • 3885
  • Post #28
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "bryn"
For me, the argument stops here: What a person does in his or her personal life should not have anything to do with their professional life, unless it involves a criminal offense which directly applies to the conditions of the job (i.e. day care worker charged with a sexual offense; truck driver charged with a DWI). I really don't care whether she taught art or English or math, or whether she was a doctor or a lawyer or a police woman. What she did was entirely within her rights. End of story.

Exactly.

  • Joined 5/22/01
  • 4649
  • Post #29
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)

What about this South Florida teacher that was fired over a 4-letter word quiz:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=44281

  • Joined 8/14/01
  • 10439
  • Post #30
  • Originally posted Sunday, June 18, 2006 (8 years ago)
Quoted from "Marcelo"
And BS on community standards, Atalanta. Community standards don't apply when they are put up against the rights of the individual. According to your rationale, a community standard of racism or sexism would be A-okay, and therefore a community would be well within its rights to hire only white male teachers or something, because that's the standard. Besides, we are a country of laws and rights, not a country of various community standards which are arbitrariliy applied instead of law. Her right to express herself freely and without fear of government reprisal for being a lesbian or for pushing a boundary or a taboo should be protected in spite of the community standard that says that in Texas you shouldn't do that kind of thing. Certainly you're not saying that community standards somehow trump the protections of the First Amendment or the general value we place on artistic expression? I would argue that (a) community standards aren't absolute, (b) one who is "different" shouldn't be penalized for violating such a standard if that standard is not law, and (c) even if she violated a standard, her right to do as she pleases in spite of a generally-agreed-upon community standard is more valuable than the standard itself. And besides, if the ex-lurker's post is true, the community standards of a place like Austin are not that strict, and if anything create a double standard where we can look at breasts in a museum but not on the internet.

She has a first amendment right to work as an artist, as a nude artist, as a sex worker (depending on local laws), a nude model, a nude housecleaner... she does NOT have a first amendment right to work as a nude model AND teacher concurrently.

I think your comparing this to gender and race discrimination is a weak and absurd argument. Activities and human conditions are worlds different. Next you'll be invoking the Nazis.

I never said she didn't have a right to create these photos, nor to have a personal life. I said she should admit she made a judgment call parents and other teachers would disdain, and apologize for any offense. She shouldn't apologize for taking the pics or having a girlfriend. But it was kind of dumb at best, and subversive at worst.

I should have commented above, that not having seen the pics, it's a matter for subjective assessment. Context is essential, of course. Hence my comments on community standards. This is a subjective and nonspecific term and i'm glad of that.

I agree the principal overrreacted, but there is a lot of overreaction and childishness here. Remember how they came to light -- a cranky coworker and some kids who said "we can get her in trouble".

Just because something is legal, doesn't mean it's right for everyone. Topless dancing is legal, and it's just boobies, so if a teacher moonlights as a dancer on eekends, no one should have a problem with that? Please. Yes, of course stripping and photography are different. I know I understand that. Do you see how they are the same?

At the root, she's a government employee. So public opinion matters very much.

People are skittish about who they entrust their children's care. That's why teachers have a different standard -- they are not ordinary employees or care workers. They are caregivers, leaders, mentors, and often in loco parentis. to deny this reality is just silly.

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