A middle-school teacher who was fired after a teenage student obtained her topless photo is seeking to sue a Long Island school district, its superintendent, and members of its Board of Education.
According to the New York Times, Lauren Miranda, a former math teacher at Bellport Middle School, says she sent the photo to a fellow teacher she was dating, but never shared it with any students and has no idea how it got into the pupil’s hands. The image subsequently circulated throughout the school, according to ABC News.
Prior to her termination, Miranda was called to a meeting of mostly men, during which time “a school administrator turned a computer monitor around to show [Miranda’s] topless selfie,” the Times reports.
“That was probably the worst day that I endured,” Miranda said.
Teacher allegedly fired over topless selfie threatens to sue school for $3 million: The photo was somehow obtained by a student after former math teacher Lauren Miranda, 25, sent it to a former boyfriend. She was fired and is now threatening a lawsuit. https://t.co/jqSk3UgLfP pic.twitter.com/JHa1t2X39s
— USA News (@1USNews) April 3, 2019
She was placed on administrative leave and subsequently fired by the South Country Central School District. Now, her lawyer has filed papers in preparation for a federal lawsuit accusing the district of gender discrimination. A male teacher, Miranda and her lawyer maintain, would not have been fired had one of his topless photos been seen by students.
“What is wrong with my image?” Miranda said at the news conference. “It’s my breasts. It’s my chest. It’s my body. It’s something that should be celebrated.”
The lawsuit asks for $3 million if Miranda is not rehired. The school district’s superintendent, the school board’s president, and its vice president declined the Times’s request for comment. But in a statement, the superintendent, Joseph Giani, wrote that he was recommending Miranda’s termination because she “failed to take adequate precautionary measures” to stop the photo from being obtained by students.
Miranda, however, maintains that she did nothing wrong, and that her firing could negatively affect female students. “What message are we sending to them?” Miranda asked at the news conference. “To roll over when your picture gets exposed without your permission or consent?”