A well-regarded, 25-year-old middle school teacher has been fired from Bellport Middle School in Long Island in the midst of non-scandal. After a teenage student obtained a topless selfie taken by math teacher Lauren Miranda for a male colleague she was dating, school officials took bold action, showing the image to a room full of Miranda’s male coworkers then firing her for… having breasts? The implication of the school administration’s actions seems to be that Miranda was a bad example for kids. The reality? The kid who stole the picture should be severely punished and Miranda should be reinstated (the likely outcome given that she is suing the school district for gender discrimination). This is just the latest instance of a school treating female teachers like nuns, a common practice that is absolute bullshit.
Miranda is, by all accounts, great at her job. The school board president had planned to recommend her for a promotion and, in a recent evaluation, revealed that nearly everyone who reviewed her performance gave her the highest marks. Kids like her. Parents like her. She’s good at her job.
But those pesky breasts!
The revelation that at some point in her life she took a photo of her own body, isn’t exactly shocking to well-adjusted humans. Perhaps she was feeling herself that day? Good for her. But to the Bellport Middle school board, the immorally (if not illegally) obtained image represented a momentous mammarian embarrassment. She was fired because she “caused, allowed, or otherwise made it possible” for her selfie to make it into the hands of a student. That is, for those keeping track, the same as being fired for taking the picture.
What a bunch of jackasses.
It’s chilling (literally and in the legal sense) to think that the revelation of having a sex (and breasts) might be disqualifying for a female teacher. After all, If it weren’t for sex there would be no children to teach. And frankly it’s nobody’s business if a teacher wants to share her body with another consenting adult. Is celibacy really a smart goal for educators? Have we learned nothing about anything?
Naturally, the school frames Miranda’s firing as something they did for children. The measured response to this claim goes as follows: Fuck you. Kids are no better off for losing a good teacher. To even insinuate that this might be the case is morally disgusting. In fact, it’s pretty clear Miranda is needed on the scene to offset or counter the lessons being taught by the school’s dipshit leadership.
What’s perhaps the most disturbing is that the school failed to use the incident to educate kids, which is the prime directive of school. Keeping Miranda on staff would have been an incredible teaching moment, particularly for middle school kids who are on the knife edge of puberty. Ten bucks says some of those kids are taking selfies. They could have learned a lesson about caution from an adult they admired.
But, nah, let’s just flash the picture to a room full of her colleagues and then pretend that she did something wrong. Cool? Cool.
And here’s a lesson that the school board might want to grapple with: Sexual expression is a good and natural part of life. That’s it. That’s the whole lesson. Not mitigating it at all. People are generally pretty good about figuring out the appropriate context for things — well, people who aren’t sneaky-ass middle school boys.
The final lesson is that men and women should be held to the same standard. In her suit Miranda notes that male teachers had shared public pictures of their nude torsos on their Facebook pages without complaint. To suggest that they are somehow more moral for not having breasts is absurd.
Instead of lessons around empathy, positivity, sexuality and equality, Bellport Middle School decided to teach kids how to shame women for their bodies. Their message is simple: Breasts are a professional liability. They might be right in the context of the school they run (poorly), but it’s their job to make kids better. They should work a lot fucking harder — or just let Miranda do her damn job.