NYC teacher taken out of classroom for online defense of sex work

by on September 29, 2010  •  In Sex work

According to the NY Times, a public school teacher in New York City is being treated the way gay teachers were treated 30 years ago. Her crime is not sexual orientation. but her acknowledgment that she previously worked as a prostitute. 

You know, there was a famous referendum, a famous Supreme Court case and, two years ago, a famous movie about the effort to purge schools of gay teachers and anyone who advocated homosexuality. This situation is really no different.  

Where's the new Harvey Milk?

A teacher at a Bronx elementary school has been reassigned after writing on a Web site about her past as a sex worker. In a short online article in The Huffington Post on Sept. 7, the teacher, Melissa Petro, criticized Craigslist for shutting down its “adult services” section, which carried sex-related advertising.

Ms. Petro wrote that from October 2006 to January 2007, she “accepted money in exchange for sexual services I provided to men I met online.” She said that she used Craigslist to meet men and it provided “a simple, familiar forum through which I could do my business with complete anonymity, from the safety and convenience of my own home.” She also wrote that she found “the lifestyle physically demanding, emotionally taxing and spiritually bankrupting,” and gave it up after a few months.

Ms. Petro was hired as a teacher in August 2007, a spokeswoman for the city Education Department, Natalie Ravitz, wrote in an e-mail on Sunday. She said that Ms. Petro worked at Public School 70 in the Bronx and had tenure. Ms. Ravitz said that Ms. Petro had been reassigned pending an inquiry by Richard J. Condon, the special commissioner of investigation for the city schools. She declined further comment. 


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