Teachers, Delete Your Nudist Pics – Even Bikini Photos Can Get You Fired
Scandal Over Olivia Sprauer Bikini Photos:
It seems like just about every week we hear at least one story in the news of a teacher (usually young and female) being fired and / or arrested for engaging in inappropriate behavior (usually sexual) with a student.
Statistically speaking, it should be no surprise that a teacher caught in a compromising position with a student is female. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about three-quarters of all public school teachers are female. Teaching has, like nursing and a few other fields, long been considered a female profession. Which is why I very nearly passed over the story of Olivia Sprauer, a young, female teacher in Florida who was fired a couple of weeks ago for allegedly improper behavior.
Ms. Sprauer’s case, however, is different. She was not fired for inappropriate interaction with a student. Nor was she fired for appearing in a pornographic film. Rather, she was fired for having professional photos taken of herself – wearing a bikini.
Ms. Sprauer apparently knew she was taking a risk by being photographed in skimpy swimwear. Employment contracts for many classes of public employees contain “conduct clauses” which dictate that behavior outside of work hours can be taken into account when rating overall job performance. Teachers are (perhaps unfairly) more affected by these conduct clauses, since their primary audience is children – and it is assumed that children will be more negatively affected by alleged immoral behavior on the part of their teachers than fellow adults would.
Aside from parents, the adults that children spend most of their time with are teachers. As a parent of two young children in public school, I understand (and expect) that teachers have a “role model” component to their jobs. But I can also categorically state that if one of my children’s teachers (who are both female) did some bikini modeling on the side, I wouldn’t be bothered at all.
As nudists, we understand that “morality” is an enormous grey area, and “community standards” vary from state to state and region to region. So perhaps we’re not as bothered by bikini photos in New York as they are in Florida (oh, the irony!).
Though I think we can all agree that the first thing we want from our teachers is competence. Did Ms. Sprauer’s outside-of-work photo sessions impair her ability to teach? If she had been surreptitiously photographed wearing a bikini at a public beach, would that have been immoral conduct? Or was it only a problem that she posed and got paid for it? As long as she was effectively facilitating learning in the classroom, what does it matter?
Conduct policies are integral to many jobs, and can be particularly important in an educational environment. My wife has been a professor at a couple of different universities, and most higher education institutions ban relationships between professors/staff and students – even though the students are generally over the age of 18 and therefore legally adults.
Problems of favoritism and academic dishonesty can arise as a result of professor-student relationships, which can be extremely detrimental to the learning environment.
Younger children are certainly impressionable. We can therefore hold teachers in elementary through high schools to a somewhat higher standard of conduct. Any number of out-of-school activities can affect how a teacher presents her- or himself in the classroom. Would I want my children being taught by someone who uses illegal drugs, engages in prostitution, or makes porn movies – even if that activity didn’t materially affect the classroom environment? It’s a difficult question, and I could make arguments for and against that teacher continuing in their position.
But in the case of Olivia Sprauer, is the simple act of being photographed nearly nude adequate grounds for dismissal? Or is it an overreaction driven by society’s tendency to equate nudity with sex?
The battle continues.
Teacher Olivia Sprauer Fired For Bikini Photos was published by – Young Naturists and Young Nudists America YNA