A high school Spanish teacher in Texas posed for Playboy three years ago and now she is being dragged through the mud by parents. Cristy Nicole Deweese, who is now 21, was featured as a "Coed of the Month" in February 2011. She posed full frontal, wore winter bunny gear and lingerie, and simulated lesbian sex with another model.
Unlike in decades past, when kids had to covertly forage through their dad's Playboy collections in the attic, all of Deweese's photos, and a video, are online for the entire student population to access.
And although Deweese can be accused of being just another typical shortsighted teen (in her Playboy video, she talks about majoring in Spanish so she can teach at the high school level), posing for Playboy at age 18 does not give us insight into whether or not she's a good teacher, which should be the issue here.
Concerned parents say Deweese is a bad influence on their kids. They question whether the teen boys in her room will be able to focus on anything other than her body. They worry that their daughters will not be able to respect a teacher who shed her clothes to pose for a nudie magazine. All valid concerns.
But totally irrelevant in this case.
I've worked in schools alongside young and very attractive female teachers, and I've worked with older and attractive female teachers, none of whom -- to my knowledge -- have posed for Playboy. And guess what? Teen boys have made sexual comments about both the 20-something and 40-something-year-old women because they're teen boys and they're thinking about sex.
When a teacher carries herself in a way that commands respect, both male and female students respond and respect her. While I admit I've seen far too many insecure female teachers dress provocatively and enjoy the attention of teen boys, they are quickly identified as problem teachers because it reflects in their teaching. They can't manage a classroom if students don't respect them. And if they can't manage a classroom, their students aren't learning and aren't achieving good grades. It's pretty transparent.
Deweese isn't a child molester. She's a former model. Many of us have committed far worse moral crimes at college parties we attended, and the only reason our images aren't splashed across a newspaper is because we weren't videotaped doing them. This teacher should be judged on her ability to teach teens Spanish -- and nothing else. For now the Dallas school district has not commented on the photos and is treating this as a "personnel matter."
How do you think the school district should handle Deweese?
Image via terren in Virginia/Flickr