This story has been making the rounds lately:
Austin ISD wants to fire an Austin High School teacher over nude photos posted on the Internet.
She defended her actions in a blog by saying that the pictures are not pornography but “artistic photography.”
According [the teacher’s] attorney, she never told students about the photographs, nor are they on her own Web site. The district learned about these pictures through another teacher.
“The teacher who was there said, ‘Whoops, something’s happened here that shouldn’t.’ She shut down the computer and went and told the principal about it,” said Jay Brim, attorney. “What [the teacher] did is leave herself vulnerable to this kind of problem. She did not do anything that I believe was violative of any of the districts standards or rules.”
The process to fire [her] will take months, but her attorney thinks they have a good case and her photographer says this is about art.
“The definition of pornography is material with no artistic or aesthetic value — created for the sole purpose of stimulating sexual arousal. That’s not my intent at all,” said Celesta Danger, photographer.kvue.com (via Archive.org)
I was talking to the daughter about it earlier (she’s an aspiring artist herself) She couldn’t figure out what the fuss was all about. Personally, I don’ know either. If you check out the photos here you may be just as mystified.
Flickr is a photo sharing site. The woman who posts the photos isn’t the teacher, she’s the teacher’s lover. Try browsing the photos; I did. I can’t find one objectionable photo in the group, unless you find lesbianism objectionable. So what this is about isn’t the photos per se, it’s the fact that there is a gay teacher teaching art at Austin High School.
…Aside from which, this isn’t a question for the school board; or rather, it shouldn’t be. It should be a question for the parents whose children attend this teacher’s classes. Do you or don’t you want her to teach? In any other city in Texas the answer would probably be ‘NO’. Until today I would have sworn that Austin was different.
She was eventually convinced to resign. While the photos were suggestive, I really don’t think the incident rated firing her over. It didn’t rate firing over in the light of the behavior we now condone from congressmen and presidents alike. A local Austin newspaper did an interview with the photographer which is archived here. There is also an Austin Chronicle article about the couple still up on their website. I have anonymized this article in deference to the teacher who should be allowed to get on with her life.
3 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”
Or perhaps (horrors!) it’s because she has a myspace account.
The school board seem to be prudes that have too much time on their hands. They should all be fired instead.
Posted at Statesman.com, which is paraphrasing a response at KLBJ-AM forums:
While there might be a valid reason behind setting higher physical and ethical standards for Cops and Firemen (jobs that require risk taking, greater stamina, and close exposure with the public in high tension environments) I don’t think the same can be said of a teacher.
I don’t think she’s done anything that warrants punishment. What ever happened to the concept of ‘free speech’? Too expensive to maintain, I guess.