"QUESTION OF THE DAY," blares Joe Weisenthal's Business Insider headline: "Should Being A Former Prostitute Preclude This Woman From Teaching In Public School?" He is writing of Melissa Petro, an elementary-school teacher in the Bronx who turns out to be a "former hooker and stripper," according to the New York Post story breaking the news. Weisenthal is fascinated by the parental reaction: do concerned parents "have any ground," he wonders, for their anger?
Should her prior profession preclude her from teaching third-graders art? As far as we're concerned, the school system might have used that information before hiring her, but at this point, it seems like there's nothing they can do.
But what if the teacher has been more or less advertising her former life? New York Magazine's Chris Rovzar points to the parts of the Post story which says "shockingly up front about her past," and chronicles it, digging up the links to which the Post story only vaguely refers:
There's this story from years ago, about how stripping led to more illegal activities. There's this blog post from over the summer about how some of her colleagues are beginning to Google her. And finally, in case you might think there is another Melissa Petro who is just tarnishing an innocent schoolteacher's name, there's the video here where she talks about how being a sex worker is like being a teacher, and then goes on to read a story about being a stripper in Mexico and then almost becoming the lesbian lover of another stripper.
Finally, as though it hadn't been clear enough, Petro made her final bid for attention with a Huffington Post blog. The entry opened with: "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." Got it?
Rovzar closes with a slightly different question: is there any way the children of these outraged parents didn't already know about this? "As in, none of them Googled their teacher to read about her sexploits? ... Knowing kids and the internet," he decides, this seems unlikely.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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