A middle school math teacher in Bellport, New York, says she was unfairly fired after a student got a hold of a topless selfie photo she took three years ago.
Lauren Miranda, 25, said that she sent the topless photo to a fellow school district teacher she was dating at the time and that she didn’t think there was anything wrong with it
“It’s pure,” she told the New York Post. “I’m getting makeup in one hand, and I’m taking a picture in the other.”
The photo somehow surfaced in January in the hands of a student, which led to her being fired March 27 from Bellport Middle School, where she had taught for nearly four years.
“That picture was never posted,” Miranda told WPIX TV. “How it got out is the million dollar question.”
Once the photo became public knowledge, the superintendent of the South Country School District told her she could no longer serve as a role model for the students, her lawyer, John Ray told WABC TV.
“What is wrong with my image?” she said, according to WPIX TV. “It’s my breasts. It’s my chest. It’s my body. It’s something that should be celebrated.”
Miranda is now planning to file a $3 million federal suit alleging gender discrimination unless she gets her job back.
Ray, said his client is the victim of a double standard.
“Anytime a man has ever exposed his chest, no one has ever commented or had any problem with it whatsoever,” he told WABC. “But when a woman displays her chest, as happened here, she gets fired from her job.”
Ray told the New York Post he doesn’t know whether the student who exposed the photo was punished.
Meanwhile, South Country School District Superintendent Joseph Giani released a statement to local media saying, “The district does not comment on active litigation.”
Miranda told Newsday that she received excellent evaluations during her stint in the district, including one that called her ”an outstanding math instructor” who is “genuinely dedicated to the academic progress of all of her students.”
“I loved my job. I really thought this was where I was going to spend the next 30 years of my life,” she told Newsday. “Now my career has been ruined, my reputation has been tarnished, I have been stigmatized.”