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School counselor fired over decades-old pictures

A well-known guidance counselor in New York City has decided to file a suit against the Department of Education for wrongful termination. She was reportedly fired because racy photos surfaced on the Internet that dated back to her modeling career. The woman stopped modeling more than 17 years ago, according to statements from her legal team.

The woman alleges that she was fired after 12 years of work, just before receiving tenure. She is filing the suit because she reportedly told the department about her previous occupation at the time she was hired, but administrators still decided to fire her. School officials said that the photographs were suggestive and inappropriate, and they could have a negative impact on adolescents throughout the city.

The woman, who is seeking punitive and compensatory damages, disagrees. She has been lauded for her professional success, and she says she has a positive track record with parents and students. The woman is also seeking reinstatement to her former job.

More teachers are coming under fire because of their secondary jobs. About 20 percent of educators moonlight at another occupation, largely because of salary cuts that have devastated the financial resources of many teachers. Some teachers take on jobs as servers, bartenders and other customer service professionals. Others try to balance more racy side jobs with their school-related responsibilities.

Other teachers throughout the nation have won wrongful termination suits because of previous employment in less-traditional professions. For example, a teacher in Florida was recently reinstated after the courts determined that he was legally employed as a pornographic actor and director. The question about prior modeling or pornography experience is still hotly debated within the educational community, though, and it is not clear how this case will end in the New York courts.

The woman involved in this case holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology, and she hosts a YouTube channel that answers questions and provides support for young urban students.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Tiffani Webb, New York high school counselor, fired for modeling past, racy photos taken 17 years ago," Oct. 8, 2012.

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