The Naked Teacher Principle, Ex-Porn Star Variation

That's porn star Robyn (the blonde) on the left, in one of her online photos I can publish; and Resa, empowering teacher of young girls, on the left.

That’s former porn star Robyn (the blonde) on the left, in one of her online photos that I can publish; and Resa, empowering teacher of young girls, on the right.

It has been a while since the last Naked Teacher Principle episode. This one is pretty much standard, with the usual attendant lessons.

For the uninitiated, The Naked Teacher Principle (NTP), to which there are many sub-categories (my personal favorite is the “Naked Teacher Who Paints With His Butt While Wearing A Bag Over His Head Principle”), is this:

“A secondary school teacher or administrator (or other role model for children) who allows pictures of himself or herself to be widely publicized, as on the web, showing the teacher naked or engaging in sexually provocative poses, cannot complain when he or she is dismissed by the school as a result.”

The first formulation of the NTP can be found here. The annals of this endlessly diverse issue are here.

Now the saga of Resa Woodward, aka Robyn Foster.

She was a sixth-grade teacher at an all-girls Dallas high school, who was pulled out of class and eventually fired after the school received an anonymous tip that she had previously worked as a porn actress 16 years ago. Indeed the tipster was correct. A web search for Woodward’s alias “Robyn Foster,” revealed that she had starred in 16 movies, including compilations of previously recorded material released as recently as 2013. “Robyn” is listed as active in the industry from 2001 to 2004.

The administrators at Young Women’s STEAM( science, technology, engineering, arts, and math)Academy at Balch Springs Middle School in Dallas were more accommodating than many schools faced with a NTP crisis. When they received the tip last March, they told Resa that she could keep her job unless and until her previous career became public. Last Fall it did, due to her public activism on behalf of the Libertarian Party. Someone posted her porn highlights to Facebook. “Politics ain’t beanbag,” as Mr. Dooley liked to say.

The 38-year-old ex-teacher is fighting her dismissal, and good luck to her. The NTP doesn’t say that such teachers have to be fired, just that they have no grounds to complain if they are. Still, it is hard to imagine there being enough enlightened and generous parents of young women in Dallas who will except an ex-porn star as their daughters’ mentor and role model.

This is especially true because Resa’s statements so far have not been ethically inspiring. First of all, she was not forthcoming about her past when she applied for the job. Since it was predictable that her porn career might come to light and embarrass the school, that act alone would justify firing for cause. Then, when the tip arrived, Resa lied and denied it was true. When that didn’t work, she changed her approach to saying that she was forced into the adult entertainment industry when she was living with an older man and they were struggling financially. “That involvement was not of my own choosing,” she says.

“I taught in an all-girls STEAM Academy that was all about empowerment for women,” she told Dallas News. “The sad thing is that if these girls find out I’m being punished for something that I did nearly 20 years ago and had no control of and fought to get out of, well, what does that say about empowerment?”

This is gibberish. What it says is that everyone is accountable for their actions, that poor decisions, even those made under duress, have consequences, and sometimes the consequences continue for decades. She’s talking about empowerment while excusing her own conduct by saying she had no choice. No choice but to be a porn actress? I doubt it. No choice if she wanted to stay with the same guy, maybe, but that’s a choice.

If I were the parent of a young woman at the school, I would be concerned that the teacher’s message was “You can be a porn star if you want to be, and then a teacher!” That may even be true, but I don’t want my daughter thinking about being a porn star, or admiring a teacher who was one. It’s a bit like the dilemma posed by the President: I don’t want my son thinking that he can behave like a  jerk for years and that this won’t handicap his prospects of being entrusted with important responsibilities later.

29 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Childhood and children, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Professions

29 responses to “The Naked Teacher Principle, Ex-Porn Star Variation

  1. Chris

    I agree with most of this. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being in porn, but a student who knows their teacher was a porn actor is going to be very distracted by this information, and the primary job of a teacher is to get the best out of their students.

    I do take issue with this, though…

    If I were the parent of a young woman at the school, I would be concerned that the teacher’s message was “You can be a porn star if you want to be, and then a teacher!” That may even be true, but I don’t want my daughter thinking about being a porn star, or admiring a teacher who was one.

    I wouldn’t want my daughter thinking about being a porn star, either. But I wouldn’t have any problem with her admiring someone who used to be one.

    • Joe Fowler

      “I wouldn’t want my daughter thinking about being a porn star, either. But I wouldn’t have any problem with her admiring someone who used to be one.”
      You don’t think that the latter might contribute to the former?

    • I understand, but as the cognitive dissonance scale shows, that distinction is hard to maintain. How about admiring someone who used to be a CIA assassin? A KKK member? A Russian spy? A heroin dealer? A spousal abuser, now reformed? A military deserter? A legal prostitute? An S&M dominatrix? An anti-gay rights activist?

      • Chris

        I can’t make a blanket statement about all of those types of people, as they are all so different. Is being an S&M dominatrix unethical? Heck, is being a pornstar? I wouldn’t want someone in my family doing either because it would make me uncomfortable, but that’s the “ick” factor talking, not ethics.

        Some of the other examples you mentioned are unethical. But Robert Byrd is a former KKK member who reformed completely, advocating civil rights and getting 100% ratings for his voting record by the NAACP. I find that admirable.

  2. Robert Smith

    I don’t really see this as much different to an ex-convict failing to disclose their criminal history to a potential employer. Sure what happened was in the past, but ethically, the employer has a right to make an informed choice who they hire. And if they do decide to hire that person, then an informed choice enables them to devise policies and strategies to better manage their employee and client relations.

    The problem really is that the teacher failed to disclose her past employment, both on application for the position, then after her past was revealed. If material was being released as recently as 2013, then that poses a problem for the school, since it is recent, no matter how long ago it was recorded. Failure to read the fine print of any contract and seek independeant advice before signing has never been defensible by ‘I had no choice, I needed the money’. That applies equally to pornography and teaching.

    .

    • Its’ exactly like an criminal record, as far as the employer is concerned. No, nothing illegal, but something in the past the school still has a right to know about that goes to trust and character.

      • Chris

        Does it really go to trust and character? How are porn actresses any less trustworthy than anyone else? Why is what they do unethical?

        I only approve of the school’s decision because the issue would be a distraction to the learning process. That does not mean doing porn is inherently unethical or makes someone untrustworthy as a teacher.

        • It’s not inherently unethical. It’s a dubious choice, that’s all, and goes to judgment. Trust is somewhat self defining: I may trust whom you may not. Most parents don’t want their daughters to be porn actresses, a profession with health issues and subject to sleazy operators and exploitation. Thus they would also be wary of a teacher/role model who could project the impression that such a career was a responsible choice. You know how I can trust a teacher not to tell students, “Yeah, I was a porn actress! I enjoyed it! Good money, fun…it’s not for everybody!”? When I know the teacher wasn’t ever a porn star. Then there’s the problem of her lying to the school by withholding the information that she was in the business.

  3. Al Veerhoff

    Let’s try this scenario: the applicant tells the employer all of her past history, and the employer decides to hire her knowing there might be some risk of belated disclosure. The inevitable happens, and the school administrators say yes, we know of Ms. Smith’s past because she told us, and we decided to hire anyway; she is a fine teacher and we consider ourselves lucky to have her on our staff.

    What happens next?

    • My guess would still be that the parents go nuts. Same if she was a “burning bed” victim of abuse who brutally murdered her husband and was acquitted, or Casey Anthony, or a reformed madam at te Chicken Ranch.

  4. Carcarwhite

    You said,

    “This is gibberish. What it says is that everyone is accountable for their actions, that poor decisions, even those made under duress, have consequences, and sometimes the consequences continue for decades.”

    Did you mean… “everyone is not accountable..” or “other people are accountable…” meaning they are victims?

    As written it doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

    Thanks in advance for clarifying.

    • No…I meant “This is gibberish. What it says is that everyone is accountable for their actions, that poor decisions, even those made under duress, have consequences, and sometimes the consequences continue for decades.” As in “no, this is what it says, not that gobbledygook. Hence the italics.

  5. Carcarwhite

    Oh never mind! I read it a few more times and now it makes sense!!!

  6. Wayne

    Actually she missed her true calling: Being a Sex Ed. teacher at a Junior College. I’m sure the enrollment quota in her class would be be no problem and she wouldn’t really have to worry about lesson plans.

  7. Rob

    This is crazy. There is zero reason to fire this teacher. She made a mistake. How many people don’t. This is too many uptight people who never look in the mirror but always point out others flaws

  8. Charlotte Hatch

    I think the real issue here is one of disclosure and intent. Whether Mrs. Woodward did or did not engage in pornography at any time in her life is not important. Neither is whether she’d make an acceptable role model (although I doubt she’d reveal her work to the student body when not revealed to the school admin voluntarily).

    The issue at hand is whether Ms. Woodward lied. That’s it. As she did not disclose her prior work history, the school has the right to terminate her on grounds of non-disclosure in the first place.

    The Academy in Dallas had the right to let Ms. Woodward go from the tip off, and chose not to so at that time. They did warn her if her information became public, her job with Young Women’s STEAM Academy would be in danger. Thus she had several options, to not participate in politics, to begin a job search or to reveal her work history to student parents and have a chance to explain.

    My Ethics in Human Communication text talks about a book entitled, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life authored by Sissela Bok.

    “Lies, says Bok, add to the power of the liar and diminish the power of those deceived by altering their choices in several ways. First, the lie may obscure or hide some objective the deceived person sought. Second, the lie may obscure or eliminate relevant alternatives that should be considered. Third, the lie may misinform concerning benefits and costs of probable consequences. Finally, lies may mislead concerning the level of confidence or certainty we should have about our choice.” (Johannesen, 2008)

    All of Bok’s reasonings apply in this situation.

    As state above, the school required Ms. Woodward’s work history, which she sought to hide. Ms. Woodward also eliminated relevant alternatives which could be considered by the Academy. She also misinformed the Academy, leaving them with no plan in place should they hire her and her work history be made public (as it was). The administration could not be fully confident in their hiring decision as information was missing to make a fully informed decision.

    We should consider the facts of this issue, not the emotions. The rest of it is white noise, and distracts from reality. If one conceals work history, one will often be dismissed, as is the employer’s right.

    When Ms. Woodward’s intent was to deceive, she was lying.

    “Deception is the larger, more encompassing category of which lying is a subcategory When we “communicate messages meant to mislead” others, to “make them believe what we ourselves do not believe,” then we are engaged in intentional deception. Deception may come not only through words but also through gestures, disguise, action and inaction, and even silence. Bok defines a lie as “any intentionally deceptive message which is stated.” (Johanessen, 2008)

    Ms. Woodward’s actions are about intent. Her intent was to deceive. To deny. To hide. To lie. In this light Ms. Woodward cannot fight her termination, nor could any one who had not disclosed all work history prior to hiring.

    • You can’t say that her porn background is irrelevant. It was on the web: coming to the students’ attention was likely, if not inevitable. Nor is the issue of a teacher in a girl’s school being revealed asa porn performer. That’s not emotional. It involves values and judgment.

      • Charlotte Hatch

        Thank you for your reply.

        I disagree. I am do not advocate for pornography, in fact, I rep the movement in my Fight the New Drug tee quite often, but this is a non extensional issue. You say porn performing is ”values and judgement”, which implies there is something inherently wrong in her decision. The wrongness would be based on what? An emotional appeal? A feeling? A belief? A culture’s attitude? Her availability as a role model?

        As for being on the web, everything is. If likely a student would find her prior history, then the blame lies with the parental figure(s) for allowing such children unfettered access to the world wide web, not Ms. Woodward for performing in movies, etc.

        The first few sections of this article are proper up until “… just that they have no grounds to complain if they are…”. After this sentence we are subjected to opinion only.

        While I realize this is America, and all may have a say, I also know I am talking about the situation as a whole picture, that could be applied to any person who deliberately misleads, conceals or hides prior work experience. I have not taken the issue and cast a narrow frame as you have done, which is within your right.

        Regards.

        Charlotte Hatch

    • Charlotte Hatch

      Johannesen, R. L., Valde, K. S., & Whedbee, K. E. (2008). Ethics in human communication. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

  9. Wallace

    Funny enough this article is a bit off. She actually did inform the school of her past, they accepted it and moved on as long as it stayed out of any public knowledge. She never withheld, never lied. When she called in a possible DUI and happened to post it online, she was blasted by someone who didn’t agree and decided to expose her past, thus destroying her career.

  10. Neil Dorr

    Jack,

    Here’s one you may (or may not have seen):

    http://nypost.com/2017/01/22/criminals-cant-wait-to-be-arrested-by-this-sexy-cop/

    The story is old and the title of the article is inexcusable; however, the officer in question, one Samantha Sepulveda, has not lost her job or been otherwise martyred for her expose.

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