A middle school teacher says she was fired after an old topless selfie that she once sent to an ex-boyfriend popped up in a student’s inbox.
Three years ago, Lauren Miranda, a 7th-grade math teacher at Bellport Middle School in New York sent the private photo to her then-boyfriend, a teacher in the district. The couple soon split, but in January, the photo — that Miranda says she’s never made public — was obtained by a student.
Miranda, 25, of Mastic Beach was fired from the South Country Central School District on Wednesday for not being a “role model,” according to a $3 million dollar lawsuit from attorney John Ray. This, despite a December 2017 evaluation (sent to Yahoo Lifestyle by Ray), calling Miranda an “outstanding” and “highly effective” teacher who was “genuinely dedicated” to her students.
Upon the discovery of the selfie, says the lawsuit, administrators interrogated Miranda “with the intention of humiliating, embarrassing, and berating” her about the photo. “Lauren was called into a meeting with all these men who flashed her photo on a computer screen and said, ‘Is this you?'” Ray tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Miranda was suspended without pay, says the lawsuit, and on March 27, the school board voted to fire her. The teacher was not available for an interview with Yahoo Lifestyle.
“That picture was never posted,” Miranda said at a press conference, according to WPIX 11. “How it got out is the million dollar question…If a male teacher’s nipples were displayed, there would be no punishment.”
Miranda said her principal told her, “How can I put you in front of a classroom where boys would be able to pull out their phone and look at this image of you?'”
Ray tells Yahoo Lifestyle his client is also being denied tenure, for which she was eligible this year. “The school district’s motive is discriminatory — they intended to sexualize her because she’s a woman.” He says the school would not reinstate Miranda’s job instead of a lawsuit.
“I loved my job, I never woke up in the morning and didn’t want to go,” Miranda said at the press conference. “I loved my students, my faculty. I really thought this is where I was going to spend the next thirty years of my life.”
South Country Central School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Giani tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “The district does not comment on active litigation.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- School board member apologizes for grabbing teacher by the throat on video: ‘I acted out of fear and self-defense’
- Teachers suspended for allegedly mocking 14-year-old’s sexuality
- Family sues school district after teacher slams student’s fingers in a door