Teacher's suspension an affront to prostitution-al rights
Bowing to increased pressure from law enforcement and advocacy groups, Craigslist recently removed its "adult services" section, a popular tool for marketing prostitution. For many, this came as a relief, a human-rights victory and a moralistic coup. However, to Melissa Petro, a Bronx elementary school teacher and ex-Craigslist escort, it was not only a disappointment, but also an affront to individual freedoms. On Sept. 7, Petro, who had a brief career selling sexual services through Craigslist, wrote an online article, for The Huffington Post, in response to the removal. Petro criticized Craigslist for "abandoning the very principles of freedom on which [the] site was founded." In defending the adult services section, Petro lauded the site for providing her with the opportunity to "do business" from the comfort and safety of her home.
Following the article, a tenured Petro, was reassigned (suspended) pending an investigation.
Petro's reassignment was the just and socially responsible course of action. What sane parent would want their child to be taught history by an educator with a history of prostitution? Now I'm not implying that Petro is necessarily a horrible person, but lets be real; prostitution is frowned upon by much of our society and, with the exception of Nevada, still illegal across the country. Petro may not have fully considered the consequences of her article, but likely would have been better served had she kept this dirty little secret to herself.
Perhaps if Petro were a college professor, dealing with mature, adult students, her article might have been received with slightly less hostility. However Petro is a grade school teacher and is responsible for molding the minds of America's young and impressionable children. Petro must have had some inkling that her disclosure would be cause for contempt and controversy, and yet still she chose to write it, leading many to question her motives.
In publishing her editorial, Petro displayed not only a great amount of courage, but also extraordinary stupidity. She deserves all the negative attention she's been getting, as well as any future disciplinary action levied against her by her employer. Her position as a mentor, authority figure and educator of young children effectively means that she is accountable to the community and entrusted to conduct herself in a virtuous and morally responsible manner at all times. Disclosing to the world her past profession as a prostitute demonstrated neither quality.
While Melissa Petro long ago quit her career as a Craigslist call girl, her Huffington Post article ensures that her checkered past will follow her well into the future. And for that she has no one to blame but herself.