Teacher can’t outrun porn star past. But should it trample her career?

Any sentence that contains “teacher” and “porn star” is going to create a stir, and that’s exactly what happened with the news that a Missouri high school science teacher is out of job after revelations she once starred in adult films.

Teacher Tera Myers left her porn star past behind her, but apparently it is hard to outrun mistakes captured on videos. After the collision of her porn movie past and her present-day respectability, she is getting more attention today than Charlie Sheen.

The 38-year-old teacher and mom was approached by a student at Parkway North High School who somehow discovered Myers’ past film work, which led to her placement on administrative leave from a job she has held for four years. She will not be returning to her classroom.

I understand the concerns over her past, but I can’t fault a teacher who made a mistake a long time ago, put it behind her and created a new, healthy life for herself and her kids.  I would have no problem with her teaching my children. Myers also coached volleyball at the school.

Myers has described herself as “a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who’s made a lot of bad decisions in life. Anybody who’s been in my classroom could tell you how much I love teaching and how much I love these students, and that should be what matters more than anything in my past.”

I agree. That is what should matter. I hate to sound like a self-help book, but I think a person’s worth ought to be measured not by where they started out, but where they ended up. And Myers ended up on her feet, doing good and working hard.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The teacher, Tera Myers, requested the leave Friday after a student approached her about her past, according to the district. Previously, Myers had been suspended from a Kentucky school district for similar reasons.

“Out of respect for her privacy and that of her family, the district has agreed to accept the teacher’s request to be placed on administrative leave for the remainder of the school year,” a Parkway news release said. Myers will be paid through the end of the school year.

Myers was hired after passing standard background and reference checks, according to the district. A Parkway spokesman said Tuesday that because the teacher’s involvement in the porn industry did not break any laws, it wasn’t revealed in the background checks.

The spokeswoman said Wednesday Parkway had called Myers’ previous school in vetting her and that the district had had no idea of the teacher’s previous suspension or the reasons for it.

Myers, 38, was in her fourth year of teaching in the district. She also had served as a girls volleyball coach at the high school.

In 2006, she was suspended from Reidland High School in Paducah, Ky., after a student obtained a copy of an X-rated film she was in and showed it to other students. At the time, Myers went by the name Tericka Dye.

She decided to fight her suspension and reapply for her job. News coverage at the time showed support from teachers and parents, as well an emotional plea from Myers, but her contract was not renewed.

“Anybody who’s been in my classroom can tell you how much I love teaching and how much I love these students, and that should be what matters more than anything that I’ve done in my past,” she told reporters.

Later in 2006, Myers told her story on the “Dr. Phil” television show, informing the popular psychologist that she had appeared in her first porn film at the age of 22, while a homeless mother of two, according to the “Dr. Phil” website.

“Doing pornographic material has ruined my teaching career and my life,” she said, according to the website. “I was broke and wound up meeting some strippers who introduced me to stripping. I was making a lot of irrational decisions, porn only being the worst.”

Myers, who later earned a bachelor’s degree from Murray State University in Kentucky and at one point served in the Army at Fort Lewis, told Dr. Phil McGraw that she suffered from bipolar disorder and that when she did the films, she was exhibiting erratic behavior.

“I was not who I am today,” she said. “I’ve gotten on medication. I’ve found God. I’ve gotten an education. I’ve done everything I could possibly do to prove that I’m a different person now. … As a teacher, I can exemplify what it means to change.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

130 comments Add your comment

kevin

March 9th, 2011
10:39 pm

I think they should suspend the student for spreading around the movie is to bad that she can turn her life around but her past will always follow her. Maybe she should consider working for a college where the students are more adult.

ron mock

March 9th, 2011
10:39 pm

I think she should be given a break. Everyone makes mistakes. She bettered herself and started a career that helps kids

Leave her be

March 9th, 2011
10:45 pm

This lady is the epitome of a turnaround story- I applaud her resilience, and her commitment to helping her students avoid making the same mistakes she did. The students who brought the tapes to light should be punished, and their parents should be ashamed. Aren’t there more pressing issues in our education system, anyway?!?

Krysten

March 9th, 2011
10:47 pm

Let the woman teach. It is obvious that she has turned her life around. && maybe these school offiials should be more concerned with a high schooler watching adult films.

Atlanta mom

March 9th, 2011
10:53 pm

It’s one thing to make a mistake at 22 when you are trying to support your family. It’s another to go on TV when you are 33 and tell the world about it.

could be worse

March 9th, 2011
10:56 pm

I’d rather have her teach my kids than Chester the Molester. She made a young, stupid mistake. She’s moved on from it. As long as she’s not sleeping with students, let her teach.

could be worse

March 9th, 2011
10:57 pm

I’d rather have her teach my kids than one of these perverts trading kiddie porn and molesting students.

Michael

March 9th, 2011
11:03 pm

I find this interesting. I will not say names, or my high school, but we had a teacher who had an elaborate past in adult film. Information about him leaked throughout the school…all of the students knew…but the administration simply went hush-hush and blocked any type of internet content involving the teacher.

It never really became a huge deal, which surprised me. As far as I know the teacher still is there

Brittany

March 9th, 2011
11:08 pm

This is ridiculous. This woman didn’t harm anyone. We all have a past, but as long as it never caused any kind of harm, I don’t understand why it has to affect an individual in the present moment. On another note, she shouldn’t have to justify working in the adult entertainment industry, dismiss it as a mistake or be ashamed of it if she’s not (who are we to judge?). People are overreacting: “A former porn star is teaching my kids and coaching volleyball. Clearly, she’s teaching them something bad or doing something sexual in class.” Seriously? There are plenty more issues that actually affect children’s education than this, and if that kid who “obtained a copy” kept it to himself, an educator who was minding her own business would still have her job.

Bluestreak

March 9th, 2011
11:08 pm

“You who are without sin, cast the first stone”

Translated into modern-day Southern English “Any of y’all that ain’t screwed up and done something dumb when you were younger, act like this lady deserves to lose her job.”

Atlanta Mom, why can’t someone who has obviously bettered herself and pulled herself out of the gutter that is the porn and strip club industry go on TV and speak about it? The administrators need to stand up to these kids and their parents and suspend the kids for trying to discredit this teacher. What’s past is past and should be used as a cautonary tale for others. That can’t happen if you aren’t allowed to talk about it.

PatDowns

March 9th, 2011
11:08 pm

Yes, she turned her life around. However, there are consequences to the choices she made. And one of those consequences should be not allowed to teach kids from K-12 with that background. Doesn’t matter how much advocating not to do what she had done, impressionable youngsters won’t understand. And yes, Maureen, you do sound like a self-help book.

Uh-oh!

March 9th, 2011
11:11 pm

Bring her to ATL! Finally, a teacher who might can get the attention of our students/thugs.

HS Public Teacher

March 9th, 2011
11:14 pm

How did this minor get a porn movie? I think that the child and the parents need discipline action!!! However, they will go unpunished and this adult that COULD be an example for kids that it is possible to turn a bad decision into a positive life will lose her career.

American society is so screwed up.

HS Public Teacher

March 9th, 2011
11:16 pm

I want everyone to note that performing as an ‘actor’ in porn is not illegal. She broke no law.

I wonder how many of YOU ever smoked a joint at all? THAT is illegal, but I bet you still have your job!!

American society is so screwed up.

Felicia

March 9th, 2011
11:17 pm

Michael, you did say “he” right? There’s the answer in it. “HE” is acceptable to to be an “adult” entertainer: “SHE” is not……

Lee

March 9th, 2011
11:19 pm

And why, pray tell, should the student be suspended?

I do agree that this lady should be applauded for trying to make a better life for herself. I guess the big question is at what point does her past interfere with her ability to teach? Knowing the mindset of teenage boys, it would be a difficult thing to overcome.

Zig zag

March 9th, 2011
11:25 pm

Some people might say that getting screwed in public is good preparation for a career as a public school teacher. Just saying.

Common Sense

March 9th, 2011
11:55 pm

On what planet can an evangelical minister hire a hooker (which is illegal) and get forgiven, but a former porn star (and porn is not illegal) gets fired. Yes, Zig Zag, you are right, she got screwed in both jobs!

HS Math Teacher

March 10th, 2011
12:04 am

She should not be given a break. If the title (I’m not going to say profession) “Teacher” is going to have any weight and clout…NO

Yes, you can be forgiven by our God, but you won’t be forgotten by earthly creatures.

Maybe she would do well in a small engine repair shop, where heads are blown and fixes are in order.

Rightwing Troll

March 10th, 2011
12:07 am

If Newt can be our next president, why can’t this woman teach? Teachers are evil anyways no? (according to the rhetoric and hyperbole being bandied about these days)

Not WINNING

March 10th, 2011
12:14 am

While we all applaud her efforts for turning her life around, and while working as a PORN actor is not a crime, it should be mentioned when applying for teaching positions because YES these situations will arise and students will obtain previous film and it will become a major distraction.

You have to be totally ignorant on both parties the school board and the individual to believe other wise, NO matter how long ago it may have been, and how much you’ve changed for the better. The minute she made the decision years ago to do PORN it immediately disqualified her from teaching minor students. POINT BLANK. Seems harsh but this is the reality of it all.

joker

March 10th, 2011
12:30 am

This is crap a grown woman preforms an un illegal act and gets fired from her job that she does exceptionaly well at for something as minor as doing a porn film this is the dumbest thing I have ever heard I am a convicted felon and I except that I will be discriminted for that I sold dope I got caught did my time and now work 60 hours a week to support my family she did not commit a crime went to school got a teaching degree and now is being discrimanated againest that’s not ok at all give the woman a break she didn’t hurt any one!!!!!!!!!!!

el johnson

March 10th, 2011
12:48 am

She should be alowed to teach. At the wages teachers get now she might have to start that back up as a second job.

Sojourner T.

March 10th, 2011
1:09 am

There was absolutely NO SENSIBLE REASON to fire this teacher
(due to some temp. work in the distant past as a young woman
– including any partially CLAD or UN-CLAD occupations) —
she may have previously been involved with over TWENTY YEARS AGO !!
This lady had the good sense to earn a degree and to currently fulfill a respectable & societally beneficial role as a Science teacher.

To put this situation in perspective:
As a matter of fact, the frontwoman shilling for astroturf org.
“EDU-PROFITEERS FIRST!” — the notorious
fraud (& briefly a fledgling teacher) corporate prostitute MICHELLE RHEE —
is much more of a blatant concubine ! (see below)

Investigate this!
Rhee-form, edu-profiteers & sleazy, corrupt, HYPOCRISY:

What was helicopter-in
Michelle Rhee’s ‘DAMAGE CONTROL’
for (boyfriend) Kevin Johnson?
note:
MICHELLE RHEE served on the
board of directors (while she also
had the conflict-of-interest titles
“operations manager” & consultant)
for Kevin Johnson’s privatized charter High School
in Sacramento
— during the exact timeframe when
there were severe financial illegalities
& misappropriations of
($850,000) federal grants
and there was also a pattern
of outlandish sexual misconduct
perpetrated by school director
Kevin Johnson involving students (minor teens)
& subordinate (Americorps) school staff —
as documented by
U.S. Govt. Inspector General
Gerald Walpin.

(crucial, must read) ==>
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Exclusive-Congressional-Report-Rhee-did-damage-control-after-sex-charges-against-fiancee-Kevin-Johnson.html

also, more detailed
info. =>
http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/citydesk/2009/11/20/what-was-michelle-rhees-damage-control-for-kevin-johnson/

============================
============================

Johnny 5

March 10th, 2011
1:18 am

So she did some stuff in her past that was not “condoned” by most standards. Would I let her teach my kids? Yes. We all have done things in our past we wish we could reverse. Think about the politicians with criminal records (including DUI). Should you be able to hold public office with a criminal record? I think not. I’m more afraid of these people ruining my kids than even a current porn star teaching my kids. If the kids learn, then the teacher is doing things right. If the teacher’s students can’t tell the difference between pi and a pie or now and know, then the teacher can be relieved of duty and stricken down due to their past. I am sure all of those people saying “she should be fired” have never done anything wrong. They think that that one time they smoked weed or the random joe’s bed they woke up in during their college years makes them better than everyone else just because they didn’t get caught. Well, you shouldn’t get children/a job/a home because you broke the law.

I support all teachers and think they deserve to be paid better than any politician or lawyer.

Bob Ling

March 10th, 2011
4:38 am

She should not lose her job. Its not she was having sex with her students. The school board has better things to do.

Richard Wilson

March 10th, 2011
4:50 am

I completely and totally agree with Maureen Downey.

Vanessa Marchetti

March 10th, 2011
4:53 am

This is astonishing and unjust. With the world being hijacked by corrupt bankers and politicians, people have nothing better to do than fire a devoted teacher, of which there’s hardly a glut!

Elizabeth

March 10th, 2011
5:16 am

Heck you’ve got Principals (APS) having sex in their school and walking around scantily clad. WTH

[...] after a student obtained a copy of an X-rated film she was in and showed it to other students. At the time, Myers went by the name Tericka Dye. She decided to fight her suspension and reapply for her job. News coverage at the time showed support from … read full article… [...]

Hello

March 10th, 2011
5:44 am

Imagine if your teacher was a porn star you would be distracted and after the publicity every kid she teaches will try and look for the video. it’s time for a career change.

Winfield J. Abbe

March 10th, 2011
5:45 am

This is an illegal firing. I hope she finds a top lawyer and bankrupts all these cowardly school systems. These cowards running these schools are why our kids and adults are no good today, while America goes down the drain. Who cares what she did before teaching? Most teachers have no life experiences at anything which is why most of them are so ineffective and stupid. They couldn’t even change a faucet washer or flat tire on their own car. The grade changing by teachers and principals in Atlanta is the real obscenity. Grade inflation by cowardly college “professors” is another. Most of the ordinary schools in the U.S. are the real Peyton Places of the country. Is it any wonder most citizens today do not have the backbone of a banana? Citizens and taxpayers must be provided the fundamental right to withhold tax money from these cesspools of hate and prejudice based on our Victorian Heritage. Sex is everywhere anyway; the Hollywood perverts have guaranteed it.
To lawyers of America: Please aid this victimized teacher to bankrupt these cesspools of prejudice improperly called schools and teach them a lesson they won’t forget.

Wayne

March 10th, 2011
5:51 am

I think none off them are wrong! High school students watch porn. A teacher used to be a porn star so what? But, everyone has there past. And being a porn star has nothing to a shame of. Maybe it’s good for her to take a break and come back. Show it to her student that she is who she is now.

Steven

March 10th, 2011
6:18 am

She REQUESTED to be put on administrative leave. She also had already given notice that she would not return next year before this all started. Her employer hasn’t done anything.

RT Bird

March 10th, 2011
6:29 am

I hope her students learned the most important lesson from this – a lesson which is not taught that well in school- Lfe is not FAIR! You are held accountable for bad choices. We have freedom of speech, but we are not free from the consequences of our words!

I would not have had a problem with this woman teaching my child, but I can understand some who would. She should be teaching younger kids who are not sexually aware. I hope she can finish the story – “woman recovers from bad choices in life” – and lives happily ever after. This is still a free country, where we can recover from mistakes, and pursue happiness.

The Mid-South Philosopher

March 10th, 2011
6:38 am

This is a tough one; however, it occurs to me that if we are going to hold people accountable for every act…even those that are not or were not illegal…but just politically incorrect…, then, there is a myriad array of “paragons of virtue” out there (mostly in state legislatures and the Congress) who ought to be sweating like crazy right now!!!

[...] See the article here: Teacher can’t outrun porn star past. But should it trample her career? – Atlanta Journal… [...]

Big Dan

March 10th, 2011
7:19 am

Too bad they fired her…she was their BEST sex ed teacher!!!!

Dr NO

March 10th, 2011
7:20 am

We all must pay for our past misdeeds. I know I certainly have had too so this woman is no different. Then again it a tough call. Seems the porn act in and of itself isnt the issue as much as her past is probably quite a distraction to the student body.

jorrel

March 10th, 2011
7:43 am

She shoudent be fierd its her past leav it ther it the past

ed

March 10th, 2011
7:49 am

What she teaching, gangbang? She’s a deceptive person and a liar. I would not want her around my high-school kids.

Bob

March 10th, 2011
7:50 am

So, she’s essentially being fired, not because of her past, but because a student behaved inappropriately. I hope she sues the school and the kid’s parents.

michael

March 10th, 2011
8:07 am

People have problems with this but we keep allowing sports figures to be idolized, doing drugs, giving second chances and idolized some more. What she did wasn’t even a crime so they need to leave her alone.

Landon D

March 10th, 2011
8:08 am

I think she should be able to teach. However, the kid who brought the tape should be punished? PLEASE! While I think she deserves a second chance, it is pretty much impossible for this to go away. That is the price we pay for making public mistakes. And with the Facebook epidemic getting stronger, you will see much more of this in the future.

HS Public Teacher

March 10th, 2011
8:10 am

Again, the STUDENT did wrong by obtaining a porn movie underage. The PARENTS did wrong by allowing their child access to it.

The TEACHER did nothing wrong. A porn actress is a real profession – it is not illegal at all.

However, it is the teacher that will lose her job?????

Silly cable

March 10th, 2011
8:12 am

HA HA! This is 2011! Its to late to save your children’s innocents! Explicit Sex images are everywhere nowadays… Do parents even know how children talk in these times or how they think? Sorry but kids have the Internet and seem to be more knowledgeable and more open about sex then our parents. I noticed when I was in school that kids are either responsible or their dirty little boogers. From my own personal experience high school was more like the movie “Superbad” or “Kick-ass”. This story is so 1990’s… So Good luck Getting your job back! or “One Million Dollars”!

HS Public Teacher

March 10th, 2011
8:12 am

@Landon D ….

If you think that the teacher is being wrongly treated, no one (even you) should just accept it. It is our civic duty to speak up against these types of wrongs.

Next time, our ’society’ will find something to hold against YOU!

melissa

March 10th, 2011
8:14 am

I think this woman is amazing …..she has did a complete 360 and she is punished because some snot nose kid was on the internet lookin at porn when he shouldn’t have been and just so happened to discover his teacher…I too agree that this student should be suspended for his own actions. She has made mistakes and has redeemed herself to the fullest and that is commendable..

Toto: Exposing naked body scanners...

March 10th, 2011
8:51 am

MOVE OVER SOCCER MOMS!
All you ” Good Christian Bi*ches” load up the kiddies in the minivan and head to DISNYWORLD for spring break! ABC/Disney is finally giving you the recognition you deserve and is working on a pilot TV show in your honor!
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/parents-group-protests-abc-for-good-christian-bitches-comedy-pilot/
Send producer “Sex in the City” Darren Star a thank you note:
http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/sex-and-the-city-creator-darren-star-hollywood-looking-to-israel-for-ideas-1.258672

Now, what is this business about a Good Christian Woman being a former porn star and teacher? Have you checked the “Teacher Hall of Shame” lately? THIS IS NOT NEWS, FOLKS.
http://badbadteacher.com/
http://bible.org/seriespage/teachers’-hall-shame-2-peter-210-22

Toto: Exposing naked body scanners...

March 10th, 2011
9:07 am

HELP MAUREEN! I’m caught in the filter.
Does it not allow “Good Christian B*i**ch*es”
This is the name of a proposed ABC/Disney pilot whose executive producer is “Sex in the City” Darren Star. I had referred the readers to a backgrounder on him at http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/sex-and-the-city-creator-darren-star-hollywood-looking-to-****-for-ideas-1.258672 (delete ****and insert “israel”)

I was demonstrating how the corruption of our citizen’s morals is being shamelessly promoted by this individual. The teacher and student who saw the adult film are part victims of this kind of degrading material continually spewing from our electronic boxes.

I was also pointing out a Biblical view of “false teachers” at this website:
http://bible.org/seriespage/teachers’-hall-shame-2-peter-210-22
and a current list of teachers who have been convicted of crimes against students:
http://badbadteacher.com/

This is all related to the topic at hand. Now why would it get stuck in the filter?