Can admitted prostitute be a teacher?

An arts teacher in the Bronx has been put on administrative duties after revealing on stage and in The Huffington Post that she was a stripper and a sex worker.

From The New York Daily News:

Melissa Petro, 30, an art teacher at Public School 70 in Mount Eden, recently revealed her dark side at the Bowery Poetry Club on the lower East Side.

“My memoir that I’m working on now is about my experiences in the sex industry starting when I was 19 years old and living as a student abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico,” Petro said at the event, videotaped by an audience member and obtained Monday night by the Daily News….

The city Education Department learned of Petro’s past from a post this month on TheHuffingtonPost.com, in which she claimed she was also a craigslist.org hooker from October 2006 to January 2007….

“A former colleague at PS 70 called Petro a “star” in the classroom.”

“ ‘If you want to be a teacher and that’s your goal, it’s stupid,’ she said of Petro’s openness about her past. “If you want to sell books then maybe not – that’s her prerogative.’ ”

Here’s a link to what she wrote for The Huffington Post.

“From October 2006 to January 2007 I accepted money in exchange for sexual services I provided to men I met online in what was then called the “erotic services” section of Craigslist.org. No more a ‘professional’ than a person renting a room on the same site is necessarily a professional real estate broker, for me and other women and men like myself, Craigslist at that time provided a simple, familiar forum through which I could do my business with complete anonymity, from the safety and convenience of my own home. At Craigslist.org, I was able to bill myself as exactly what I was at the time: a graduate student, bored and curious, sexually uninhibited, looking to make a little money while having a little fun. I wrote my own ads, screened my own prospective dates, decided on my own what I would and would not do for money, and — best of all — I kept every penny I earned, all without the interference of an agency or other ubiquitous ‘middle man.’ “…

“…It has been some years since the last time I met a stranger through Craigslist for reasons other than to buy or sell a piece of furniture. I hope to never again make the choice to trade sex for cash even as I risk my current job and social standing to speak out for an individual’s right to do so. The simple fact is that people do have sex for money — many different kinds of people for many different reasons, people as varied as those looking to buy concert tickets, sell a collectible or adopt a pet — and these people will continue to. Whether the choice to do so is being dignified and protected with its own forum or whether what was once that safe space remains appropriately labeled “censored,” that choice, without a court order one way or another, remains up to Newmark.”

I agree with her former colleague that if she’s writing a memoir it just seems like good publicity to out herself as a sex worker. I suspect she knew she would be in trouble. If she didn’t have a publisher for her memoir before, she does now.

Would you want your kids being taught by someone who admito being a former stripper and/or prostitute?

Would it make a difference if the teacher was working with younger students versus teenagers?

Do you think she wrote the piece in The Huffington Post not thinking people would find out or purely for calculated publicity?

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shaggy

September 30th, 2010
6:12 am

No, it’s not very smart for a teacher to reveal their dirty laundry, unless they don’t really like teaching as much as making money on “Hot for Teacher – The True Story – Coming to Fox Network this season”.

Maybe she knew that eventually, she would be turned out and wanted to max out her earning potential when she had the chance.

Having her continue teaching would increase father participation in PTA and, uhhumm…parent-teacher meetings about juniors grades, don’tcha think?

Jeff

September 30th, 2010
6:46 am

It’s a stupid career move but nothing surprises me anymore. My guess is the ACLU will sue to protect her job and she’ll be encouraged to grasp the opportunity to have a teachable moment and “educated” students about the sex trade industry.

LOL. Good one Shaggy.

Well, yeah...

September 30th, 2010
7:58 am

…an admitted prostitute can be a teacher, but you may not like some of the stuff she may be teaching…

And, are’nt some marriages nothing but legal prostitution with some women wanting the security of a man taking care of them in exchange for sex?

Jeff

September 30th, 2010
8:18 am

Well yeah,….I wondered how long it would take for that spin on the subject to come up in this blog.

In defense of the women on here, the blog the other day made it pretty clear many of them were too tired from doing it all to have sex with their husbands, so your analogy is moot. LOL.

RJ

September 30th, 2010
8:19 am

In life we all make bad decisions. Some people never learn from their mistakes while others do and go on to be productive human beings. Think of the ministers, doctors and lawyers that have made mistakes but went on to live successful lives. I honestly would only have a problem with her teaching my child if she felt that what she did was right. Unless she feels that prostitution should be legal and therefore her actions were acceptable in her eyes. Other than that, I have no problem. There would be no need to reveal this to her students, even to teach a lesson. It’s a part of her past.

Would you refuse to listen to a minister that had gone to prison and now has turned his life over to God? I doubt it.

abc

September 30th, 2010
8:19 am

Her comparison of selling sex on craigslist to selling furniture on craigslist indicates that her character is insufficient to be teaching children of any age. Absolutely a morality problem.

Hey, Jeff...

September 30th, 2010
8:21 am

…that is why I used the term “some marriages” – that eliminated those wives to whom you refer, and also those wives who ‘claim’ to have insatiable libidos…

Light

September 30th, 2010
8:22 am

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

Hey, RJ...

September 30th, 2010
8:23 am

…you wouldn’t, per chance, be a member at New Birth Church would you?

shaggy

September 30th, 2010
8:48 am

abc,

Shouldn’t YOU be teaching YOUR child about “morality”?

The article said she was a fine teacher, not that she was caught wearing spiked heels and lingere to class.

Always an Excuse

September 30th, 2010
9:02 am

“Some people never learn from their mistakes while others do and go on to be productive human beings.”

Unfortunately the numbers of those that never learn are skyrocketing. Maybe its that technology has exposed all the “mistakes”. The other thing is the word “mistakes” is used from everything to felony crimes to traffic tickets. A mistake is when you pour orange juice instead of milk on your cereal in the morning. Seriously, when are WE going to start taking accountability for ALL of our actions and suffer the consequences. I am teaching my kid right from wrong, but unfortunately the irresposible parent does have an effect on my child. :(

Bunch of Yentas

September 30th, 2010
9:02 am

Her point is that she rejects the traditional notion that sex for money should be shunned and prohibited. Its her stance. You don’t have to agree with her.

I actually do agree with her. But let the majority decide I suppose.

I think that legal prostitution is just what this country needs.

abc

September 30th, 2010
9:11 am

Citizen opinions about legality don’t make prostitution, nor pot, nor anything else legal. A teacher has made public her opinion about issues of morality; parents who are concerned with the role models their children are exposed to on a daily basis will not want her to teach their children.

It’s not controversial, merely racy. Her teaching days should be over.

Well, abc...

September 30th, 2010
9:22 am

…you certainly like to trample on the rights of free speech, now don’t you…

JJ

September 30th, 2010
9:22 am

We all have a past, we have all made poor choices. I’m sure she made a ton of money, put herself through school, and now want’s a “Legitimate” career. Good for her. I don’t have a problem with it.

What this country needs is more free thinkers.

JATL

September 30th, 2010
9:27 am

People need to think! I have no problems with her past, and if she wants to tell the world, that’s fine. If she worked in most other professions, I would see no problem with it, but when someone teaches kids and those kids have access to this kind of information (or even if their parents do -even young kids pick up on things they hear their parents talk about) -well, sorry! Find a different career or DON’T SHARE YOUR BACKSTORY! I used to teach, and if I had once been a stripper or a hooker or anything “shady” -I certainly would have kept it locked up tight. Quite honestly, if it had ever come to light for some reason, I would have expected to be fired. Not in my job today, but I don’t teach kids anymore. People need to learn that their lives don’t have to be a completely open book.

I DO think prostitution should be legal. I think drugs should be legal too, but that doesn’t mean I want former prostitutes and drug dealers teaching my kids or anyone else’s. I don’t care if they own a business I frequent, fix my car, get a medical degree or design my house, but I smell nothing but trouble mixing an open background like this with teaching kids.

abc

September 30th, 2010
9:30 am

‘trample on rights of free speech’, no, of course not. The teacher is free to say anything she wants, in any venue of forum she to which she can gain access. Likewise, I have the same rights. Free speech has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Kate

September 30th, 2010
9:33 am

I really think this person decided she could make a lot more money selling a “book” than being a teacher. I guess that’s a big step up from other things she’s done for money.

In answer to the question, no, I absolutely would not want this person teaching my kid! I might be more sympathetic if this was something that happened in the distant past, but not only was she involved in prostitution fairly recently, she actually seems to condone it. By choosing to be a prostitute she showed a complete lack of judgement or concern for her personal safety, not to mention a total absence of morality and character. Such a person is not fit to be in charge of children either in a classroom or anywhere else.

Jeez, last week we had parents freaking out about Katy Perry’s boobies on Sesame Street, yet there’s actually some question as to whether or not its acceptable for you child to have an unrepentant prostitute as a teacher?

JATL

September 30th, 2010
9:41 am

@JJ -I agree about the freethinkers and the fact that we’ve all made some bad choices, but I think she should find a different career path. I don’t think kids (especially young women) should think it’s okay to strip or be a hooker because it will all work out in the end. For this woman -good for her -it HAS, but think of most of the women who are prostitutes -not a good move. Stripping is iffy -some actually do it to get through school and have no issues, but it sucks a lot of young women into crappy lives. I DO think it’s a parents job and not a teacher’s to instill morality, but we know kids do look to other adults and think, well, if they did it and it’s okay…

Dixie Chic

September 30th, 2010
9:45 am

“We all have a past, we have all made poor choices”

That catch-all phrase doesn’t cover it. Statements like that hint of lots of dirty sorid secrets. You tell your poor choices and I’ll tell mine, someting tells me they’ll be vastly different! ;)

FYI – I’m all for free speech. It’s beautiful thing.

Hey, abc, you said...

September 30th, 2010
9:45 am

…regarding her comments “It’s not controversial, merely racy. Her teaching days should be over”. If that is not trampling HER right to free speech, I do not know what is…

To quote "Porky's"...

September 30th, 2010
9:46 am

…”Moral Turpitude”

abc

September 30th, 2010
9:47 am

That’s ridiculous. Since when does free speech entail the necessity of people agreeing with what one has to say? She can say anything she wants, and I can react or not react in like fashion.

Perhaps you don’t understand the concept of free speech.

abc

September 30th, 2010
9:49 am

To repeat, since evidently some keywords trigger post quarantine: free speech does not require that people agree with what one says. For instance, you don’t agree with me, but you’re free to say so. If I were to publicly admit to illegal activity, especially that which would indicate issues of morality, I’d expect to be fired, too.

TechMom

September 30th, 2010
10:14 am

Hopefully she gets a book deal that makes her enough money to not ever have to teach again b/c her teaching days are over… unless she wants to go to another country and try to run from her past. Dumb move.

LMAO

September 30th, 2010
10:15 am

“…regarding her comments “It’s not controversial, merely racy. Her teaching days should be over”. If that is not trampling HER right to free speech, I do not know what is…”

How is that trampling free speech? The prostitute said what she wanted to say but opinions to the contrary are not? LMAO …

catlady

September 30th, 2010
10:15 am

Do you believe in redemption?

LMAO

September 30th, 2010
10:20 am

“Do you believe in redemption?”

Not when you are trying to get your 15 minutes of free publicity. If the prostitute would have just kept her mouth shut, chose a different carrer path, then yes eventually she would have redeemed herself. Yet another wrong path taken in life. :(

Kate

September 30th, 2010
10:22 am

There seems to be a lot of confusion about just what “freedom of speech” means and what constitutes a violation of that freedom. Freedom of Speech gives a person the right to speak without government censorship or persecution, but it does not permit them from ANY consequences. This person chose to publicly admit to participating in illegal activity, yet she is not in jail, and as far as I know, no one is pursuing charges against her. Both the school she works for and the community in general, however, have an equal right to express their own freedom of speech by renouncing her behavior. Yes, this woman will probably loose her job over this, but that is a reasonable consequence for a school teacher publicly admitting to being a prostitute.

Kate

September 30th, 2010
10:24 am

Sorry for the typo. Should be protect, not permit.

Dad

September 30th, 2010
10:54 am

The only legitimate concern here, in my mind, is her classroom audience. I do think the school should be concerned about classroom disruptions/effectiveness if the students are old-enough to be aware of her shenanigans. So, having her teach a class of pubescent boys is probably not a great idea. Other than that, I presume the school board hired her because they thought she was qualified for the job, and they just need to deal with it.

JATL

September 30th, 2010
11:02 am

Freedom of speech means that I absolutely have the right to stand up at work right now and announce, “I did 5 lines of cocaine this morning before coming in!” However, I should expect to be fired. And no, I didn’t actually do that…

RJ

September 30th, 2010
11:59 am

Teaching is a career choice, not a lifestyle.

shaggy

September 30th, 2010
12:09 pm

Aww…c’mon she would be a natural to teach sex education. I am sure she could ace the banana demonstration, using her “professional” skills.

Sure she will get fired and move to Nevada as the rising star of the Mustang Ranch, probably do a promo tour here at one (or more) of our gentleman’s clubs, and retire after pulling down seven or eight $$ figures.

Then, she will move in next to abc ;)

There goes the neighborhood.

[...] Bloomberg says he wants confessed hooker teacher Melissa Petro yanked …New York Daily NewsCan admitted prostitute be a teacher?Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Cleveland News – Fox 8 -New York Times -New York [...]

JJ

September 30th, 2010
1:28 pm

LOL shaggy….

Actually, Kate...

September 30th, 2010
1:29 pm

…the typo should be “lose her job” rather than “loose her job”, though she used to be “loose” at her old job – could that have been a Freudian slip…

Let's see...

September 30th, 2010
1:34 pm

…if you are a “former” prostitute, are you always a “prostitute”, like an alcoholic is always a “recovering alcoholic”? So, if you are no longer a prostitute, but are married and still like sex, are you a recovering prostitute?

So, IMHO, unless she is caught in an illegal prostitution sting, she has the right to say as she pleases about her past without repercussions, but many of you here believe that because she exercized her right to free speech about something in the past then she should be fired –

As Artie Johnson used to say – VERY INTER-RESTING…..

Spacey

September 30th, 2010
1:37 pm

Do they kids really care anyway? I just don’t see how her past would be disruptive to the classroom.
I remember we talked about our teachers all the time.
Mrs Colton has spinach in her teeth, Coach Pratley likes the new Math teacher, Mr. Harbin is sleeping with one of his students, blah blah blah…
At the end of the day it was how the teacher controlled and taught the class that mattered. Once the door was shut and the lesson began nothing else mattered about them.
I don’t depend on a teacher to teach ethics/morals/citizenship to my children. It would make a great conversation with older children about choices if this was their teacher!
Should she be fired? Absolutely not. I hope she finds a Charter or Private school that accepts her the way she is and leaves public teaching.
Should she have put it out there? I would not have announced it, but I’m a little more modest than most.

steve

September 30th, 2010
1:52 pm

Fire her from her legal job and you will see her out on the street with her old illegal job…

Your choice what’s it going to be?

Jeff

September 30th, 2010
2:21 pm

Just crossed my mind:

If a male teacher admits to having frequented said “establishments” and “services” in the past and is a teacher to your daughter, would you feel the same way?

Ezra

September 30th, 2010
2:50 pm

I rather have a prostitue as a teacher than a homosexual.

LMAO

September 30th, 2010
2:52 pm

“Fire her from her legal job and you will see her out on the street with her old illegal job…
Your choice what’s it going to be?”

It’s about HER choices. She chose to be a prostitute to begin with and it would be HER CHOICE to do so again if she wishes after she is fired.

Young devil

September 30th, 2010
2:57 pm

They taught me a lot

Jesus Hernandez

September 30th, 2010
3:03 pm

Those of you without sin, cast the first stone.

JJ

September 30th, 2010
3:06 pm

Good question Jeff……but of course he would be labeled a STUD.

Technical Term

September 30th, 2010
3:12 pm

Shouldn’t your question actually read- “ex-prostitute”. There’s a good bit of difference, wouldn’t you say?