A middle school teacher from a Long Island suburb in New York City was fired last week over a topless selfie.
The photograph in question was taken two and a half years ago, but recently stolen from Lauren Miranda and circulated through Bellport Middle School. The 25-year-old math teacher is planning to file a federal lawsuit for gender discrimination. Women have been legally allowed to be topless in public in New York City since 1992.
In January, 2019 Miranda was called before school administrators. Before attending the meeting, a co-worker informed Miranda that there were rumors about students seeing a naked photo of a teacher. Miranda was confident it wasn’t her since she had never sent anything like that to a student.
During the meeting an administrator pulled up Miranda’s topless selfie on his computer and showed it to her.
How the picture was stolen is still unknown. “That picture was never posted,” said Miranda. “How it got out is the million dollar question.” The photograph was originally shared with her then boyfriend, a fellow teacher at her school.
In an interview with Fox News affiliate WPIX 11, Miranda recalled her conversation with the principal. “He said ‘how can I put you in front of a classroom where boys would be able to pull out their phone and look at this image of you?””
The administration decided Miranda would be fired because of the photo, but Miranda argues their decision is a violation of her civil rights. “If a male teacher’s nipples were displayed, there would be no punishment,” she said. Given New York City’s “bare breast” laws, the young teacher may have a case.
Attorney John Ray has filed a notice of claim asking for either Miranda’s reinstatement or a payout of $3 million. Ray argues that Miranda was always commended for her excellent job performance and that she only wants her job back.
“I loved my job, I never woke up in the morning and didn’t want to go. I loved my students, my faculty. I really thought this is where I was going to spend the next thirty years of my life,” said Miranda.