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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Too sexy for her job?



Image_6997328 There's a biology teacher in St. Lucie County who suddenly finds herself out of work. The school district says it released her because of frequent absences. She says her dismissal had less to do with her job performance than her after-school performance.

See, Tiffany Shepherd (left) also has a second job as a "bikini mate" aboard a fishing charter, the Palm Beach Post reports. The main job requirement is to look "hot" in a bikini, and Shepherd contends that her participation (and the suggestive online photos of her on the boat) got her fired.

District officials acknowledged to the Post that the photos could have undermined her effectiveness, though they insist they weren't the cause of Shepherd's termination.

It brings up a salient point, though, one that's getting a more thorough look these days as teacher conduct in and out of the classroom comes under increasing scrutiny.

People expect certain behavior from teachers because they are molding children's future. They don't expect them to misbehave with children (as we've seen all too frequently lately), and they also prefer that teachers don't misbehave without students around, too. And that definition of "misbehave" varies.

Over the years, the Gradebook reporters have seen some teachers leave town even to have a beer. Some teachers choose to live miles, even counties, away from their campuses to avoid running into students and parents in the grocery store.

The Internet opens a whole new world where "misbehavior" can take place for everyone to see. And young teachers like Shepherd often end up there, to varying responses. First-year Duval teacher Timothy Huber has resigned his job, for instance, after parents saw him mocking a student on a YouTube video, the Florida Times-Union reports.

The Washington Post recently ran a story on this topic. Makes you wonder where public life ends and private life begins, doesn't it?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 9:40am]


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