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.