Every so-often you see a case of a teacher who is fired for some reason not relating to their conduct as a teachers. Maybe they write saucy novels in their spare time. Maybe, like Melissa Petro, they were a former sex worker.
I have two master's degrees, five years' experience in the nonprofit sector and three years' experience teaching -- and I cannot get a job. Why? Just google me. I'm the "Hooker Teacher" -- at least that's what I've come to be called ever since Sept. 27, 2010, when I found myself on the cover of the New York Post.
"Meet Melissa Petro," the story began," the teacher who gives a new twist to sex ed." The piece describes me as a "tattooed former hooker and stripper" who was "shockingly upfront about her past." Indeed, earlier that month, I'd written an Op-Ed on the Huffington Post that criticized the recent censoring of the adult services section of Craigslist and came clean about my own sex-worker past. Because I was arguing that sex workers shouldn't be ashamed to speak for themselves, I signed my name to it. The New York Post wasn't interested in my politics, however; its interest seemed only in cooking up shock that an elementary school teacher would dare admit such a shady history.
Now, my opinion on this is that people are allowed to have past lives. Their qualities as a teacher should be judged on what they do in the now in the classroom. To eject people who had shady pasts who are perfectly fine teachers now (yes, that is an assumption – I have seen no criticisms of her performance as an actual teacher in all of this) is to ensure that actual humans, with experiences that can shed new perspectives on their craft, cannot become members of a certain profession.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction to try to maintain purity in certain kinds of professions. It happens in politics mainly, where any kind of event from the past can be used against political opponents. We get bland mindless barby and ken doll politicians because they couldn’t be anything but, any sign of individuality can be used to sow doubt and voters will be “just not sure”.
That aside, there is another chapter in this sordid tale I want to bring up here. A particularly vile and viscious article that has been written against Melissa Petro entitled “Idiot prosti-teacher didn't learn lesson”.
The amount of vileness in this piece is astounding. One cannot even skip past the title, which is a slanderous lie. As if a past history of being a prostitute means she is a “prosti-teacher”? Please. The first paragraph of the piece is:
This is one whore with chutzpah.
Excuse me? What did you just write there? Again, does a past define you forever? Is Melissa forever a “whore”. What kind of blatant thuggery is this piece? The amount of pejoratives as verbs and blatant bleeding of hatred into the descriptive language is enough, in my mind, to ensure in any decent world that the writer, Andrea Peyser, should never be employable as a writer again.
Melissa Petro, the stripper/hooker who was reborn a public-school teacher, thinks her Bronx art students are too dumb to understand Petro's written ravings about her career as a proud and empowered slut.
Petro floated into the National Arts Club yesterday in a virginal white mohair coat, navy-blue minidress, and brown sky-high platform do-me pumps.
she responded in a high-pitched, little-girl lisp.
"I don't think my thtudents could comprehend my work, and if they did, they deserve an A," she said condescendingly.
She'd been outed by this newspaper as a former sex worker, then charged by the school system with "conduct unbecoming a teacher." More like conduct unbecoming a human being.
The bleached-blond Petro, who lives in Manhattan, wrote a filthy and "racially insensitive" 2007 article in Post Road Magazine about stripping and whoring in Cincinnati, the investigator noted.
Melissa Petro, Happy-Hooker-turned-social-giant. Wrap her in police tape, and hide the kids.
What about the children! Hold them close to mother’s breast and whisper in their ear that everything will be alright. The irony of the second-to-last paragraph is great, glass houses Andrea, stones, avoid.
Posted on: Friday, May 13, 2011 1:14 AM