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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!