A Fitchburg School’s Paraprofessional Is Also A Model. Why Do We Care?

Before I moved to the District of Columbia, I lived in a small town next to Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Though I was never a legal resident, I went to middle school, high school, and started college coursework in Fitchburg. I worked at a family planning clinic in Fitchburg and spent my weekends socializing in Fitchburg enough to call it my hometown. Immediately before moving to DC, I was a  substitute teacher in Fitchburg. Though I live a few hundred miles away, I still care deeply about local happenings.

I was disheartened to learn that a 23-year old paraprofessional was suspended from her position at South Street Elementary because she also works as a model and has a pretty active Instagram account of her work. Kaitlin Pearson isn’t alleged at having sexual contact with her students, or showing her photo work to her students.  She just posed as a model and posted her work on the internet, as, you know, models do.

Hilary Sargent of Boston.com wrote an excellent op-ed piece on this. My favorite quote of the article?

The Sentinel & Enterprise notes that “nude or semi-nude photographs are not something that would appear” on a Massachusetts criminal record. Wanna know why? BECAUSE NUDE OR SEMI-NUDE PHOTOS AREN’T ILLEGAL.

A Massachusetts CORI form (criminal background check) doesn’t cover a modeling career, because it shouldn’t. Pearson’s work as a model doesn’t discount her work as a paraprofessional. If her modeling life is not interfering with her students’ learning and safety, it should not affect her employment status. Though I do not know what this means in a parent’s eye, I like to think I would rather my future children learn from someone who works a model who is also a great paraprofessional than the second-choice candidate because they haven’t had pictures like this exposed. I hope Fitchburg Superintendent Ravenelle makes the same call for the good of the students.

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3 thoughts on “A Fitchburg School’s Paraprofessional Is Also A Model. Why Do We Care?

  1. By the time Kaitlin and her contemporaries are running the school districts, no one will care. The fact that many people think it is unimportant is encouraging. Twenty years ago the consensus would have been overwhelmingly “Of course we should not have people like that working with our children.”

  2. Diana Hamilton-Rousseau says:

    If Kaitlin’s pictures had been a painting people would be paying money to view the art in a museum.

    • Althea May says:

      I think so, too. And they may even be hanging in the Fitchburg Art Museum and I’m sure these students have all taken field trips there (as they should! It’s a great community resource).

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