OXNARD, Calif.—Despite a slight whiff of hope that the Oxnard Unified School District would follow the lead of Orlando, Florida, and allow Stacie Halas to continue teaching, it was not to be. The board met last night and decided unanimously to terminate the 31-year-old science teacher.
The district superintendent. Jeff Chancer, used the lamest excuse possible to explain the decision, saying, "If she were to return to the school district, it would be a disruption."
He probably meant "distraction" but thought it wasn't strong enough, so he went with "disruption." The school year has already been "disrupted" by this middling scandal, of course, so it's unclear what further disruption he is talking about other than having to spend time himself explaining to the media and parents why she was not fired. Much easier to just terminate the woman.
Halas, who appeared on BigSausagePizza.com, the footage of which may also have found its way onto a volume of the Big Sausage Pizza DVDs released between 2005 and 2008, performed under the name Tiffany Six.
The decision by Oxnard to fire Halas is not an anomaly. According to law professor Jonathan Turley, who wrote an editorial earlier this month titled "Teachers under the morality microscope," the anomaly was the decision by Orlando to allow gay adult performer and producer Shawn Loftis to reapply for a teaching certificate in Florida, even though "local officials were quick to assure citizens that they would not have to hire Loftis even if he were certified."
In the other cases around the nation in which a teacher has been outed as either doing some porn in the past, admitting having accepted money in exchange for sex, posting a photo of herself looking down the sight of a rifle, posing with a male strip at a bridal party or just holding a drink in a photo taken while on vacation in Europe, discipline has been swift, harsh and unapologetic.
"All of these cases involved completely lawful conduct by teachers outside of school hours," wrote Turley. "So why did they suffer consequences? As a school board member put it in the case of the Pennsylvania teacher suspended for the bridal party picture, 'Everybody has a right to do what they want on their own time, but once kids and parents see it on the Internet, it becomes the school district's problem.' The trouble with that reasoning is that it allows teachers to enjoy the same basic rights as other citizens only so long as they don't enjoy them in public."
The tendency to impose unreasonable moral obligations on people 24/7 extends not just to teachers, of course, but as Turley notes, to "other public employees, including police officers, city managers and prison guards, [who] have also found themselves punished for private behavior deemed unacceptable by the public."
And who can forget the brouhaha that erupted when former adult star Sasha Grey was audacious enough to simply read to elementary school kids? It would appear that the notion that there is something innately toxic about people who are deemed too licentious has taken hold.
Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, who appeared on the KPPC segment, provided the following comment to AVN about Halas' firing: "Many adult performers work to put themselves through school-especially now when support for education has hit an all time low," she said. "Ms. Halas worked in a legal industry in order to supplement her income, allowing her to go to college and better her life. Unfortunately, instead of supporting the responsible decision that she made, the Oxnard school district decided to discriminate against her. This was a poor decision; Ms. Halas does not deserve to be terminated. On the contrary, she deserves our utmost respect and support."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Halas has 30 days to appeal her termination.