This year, Lauren Miranda, a 25-year-old middle-school teacher from Long Island, became eligible for tenure at her job. “I loved my job, I never woke up in the morning and didn’t want to go,” she recently told the press, adding “I really thought this is where I was going to spend the next thirty years of my life.” But last week, she was fired, after the South County School District in Bellport, Long Island caught wind that that an old topless photo of Miranda’s had been leaked to students.
The photo was taken three years ago, and according to local reports, Miranda says she sent it to her then-boyfriend, who taught in the same school district. Miranda says she does not know how the photo got into the hands of the students, and that the district discriminated against her because of her gender.
“If a male teacher’s nipples were being displayed, there would be no punishment,” she says. Her attorney has filed a notice of claim, asking for the school district to give Miranda her job back or pay her $3 million.
Miranda also says that, when she spoke to her school’s principal, he made the sexist, tired argument that she could no longer effectively teach boys anymore, because they’d all just found out she has breasts:
“He said ‘how can I put you in front of a classroom where boys would be able to pull out their phone and look at this image of you?”
Glossed over in all of this is the fact that Miranda says her photo was shared without her consent, and it’s unclear how exactly that happened. Reading over local news reports, I wondered if the school district look into whether or not her ex-boyfriend, who at one point was also their employee, was the person who sent the photo to her students? Whether or not officials did, they still decided to terminate Miranda. And somehow, her photo was shared all over again in a meeting by district officials:
“They displayed in full color, with all the men in the room sitting there, her photograph and said- ‘ha! This is the picture,’” said [attorney John] Ray.
It sure sounds like simply having a topless photo was grounds to fire an otherwise promising teacher. The question of how it was allegedly shared without her consent seems to be irrelevant to the school district.