OXNARD, Calif.—The LA Weekly received word yesterday that the Oxnard School District failed to agree on a decision about what to do with Stacie Halas, the former part-time adult performer who subsequently became a Middle School science teacher at Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School in Oxnard, which is located along the coast about an hour's drive north of Los Angeles.
According to the Weekly's Denis Romero, school officials sent him the following statement today from board president Veronica Robles Solis. "Direction was given to legal counsel regarding the discipline of a certificated employee and no action was taken in closed session," she said. "We know that there is considerable interest in our situation at Haydock Intermediate School. However, we respect the privacy of our employees and the Board Members and staff cannot comment on this matter other than what is reported out of closed session."
According to Romero, "That means that the instructor that rocked the world of just about every eighth grade boy who has been her student ... will apparently stay on administrative leave while the district decides what to do."
He goes on to predict that " Halas gets to stay on-board in some capacity," but only makes that guess because of the other porn-star-turned-teacher story that's been making the rounds, involving Shawn Loftis, aka porn performer Collin O'Neal, who "was allowed by the state to teach again in Florida after he was fired from the Miami-Dade district."
But here is where the similarity between the two cases seems to divide. According to Romero and every other mainstream version of the Loftis story, Loftis quit performing before becoming a substitute teacher in Florida.
In fact, in yesterday's article, Romero stated, of Halas and Loftis, "In both cases the performances came long before the two decided to go into teaching."
That claim by Loftis was first made to the media in his interview with the Miami New Times and contained in an Aug. 23, 2011 article about five months after his Florida teaching credential had been revoked.
"In spring 2010," the article stated, "Loftis decided to dump porn to pursue his real passion: teaching. That March, he sold 'World of Men' to a Canadian company, he says. And in April, he began substitute teaching in local public schools. He worked at Miami Beach High—where 'they just loved me to death,' he says—Nautilus Middle, Edison Middle, and Fienberg-Fisher K-8."
But, as The Sword has long since documented, Collin O'Neal did not appear to be retired as an active performer during the time period he claimed. In addition to the Sword's documentation, AVN's Mickey Skee reported in a June 2010 post on AVN.com, "Collin O’Neal sent a note saying his 'little company' World of Men is still around despite these stressful financial times. In search of new talent to feed the studio’s bottom line, he headed down under to Australia, but found out nothing is cheap there. After bunking with a cousin and living on McDonald’s burgers, he discovered a bunch of 'beautiful blonde surfers on the beach' in Melbourne … and fell in love—or at least in lust.
"O’Neal talked a hot Lebanese guy, Alex DeLarger, into doing a scene with him. You can check it out at WorldofMen.com.
"'I love Alex’s rough, sexy look so much I actually let him fuck me,' O’Neal said. 'Yes, this is the first and only release so far with me, Collin O’Neal, as a bottom.'"
However, the article does not say exactly when O'Neal sent that note to Skee, and an email to Skee asking that question was not returned. It is of course possible that the note and the activity it describes took place in that murky spring 2010 time-period. Loftis/O'Neal has reaffirmed his claim that he was no longer the owner of World of Men by April 2010 and had stopped performing, and even took to the Dr. Drew show in Sept 2011, where, prompted by Dr. Drew, he blamed a "gays attack gays" porn culture for the lack of support he was getting from TheSword.com. On the show, however, he was slightly vague as the actual claims made by The Sword, saying he was getting out of the business during the April 2010 time period in question.
But TheSword.com documentation also contains more than a few instances of porn activity involving O'Neal that was supposedly taking place during the latter part of 2010, when he definitively says he was not performing, and the AVN reference also at least raises some questions about the accuracy of those claims.
And the larger question remains: does any of this mean that Loftis should have been fired for his gay porn past or present, and likewise, should he have been rehired in light of the questions about his candor?
In a sense, this is a very difficult question to answer. It's safe to say that no one at AVN believes that anyone should be denied the chance to teach because of their porn past if they are qualified to do so, and some may even believe that current sex work would not be an automatic disqualifier.
But is it not also the case that if someone argues, as Loftis has done, that they want to “guide students away from making the same mistakes he made," that a big part of being able to be honest with those students about those mistakes would include being completely open about what exactly the mistakes were? In this case, it's actually hard to ascertain what specific mistakes Loftis believes he has made; is the implication is that the mistakes he needs to warn students about pertain to producing and performing in porn, or not being more upfront
It is also a little upsetting to see Dr. Drew take so little interest in exploring the substance of the claims made by TheSword, preferring instead to focus on why the site was not more supportive of Loftis, as if that political support is all that matters. Now, however, many months later, after the Florida School Board has reversed the earlier decision and will allow Loftis to apply to teach again, the same old line is being repeated time and again, now with the Halas angle, that two former porn stars have had their teaching careers interrupted.
Maybe the larger, more relevant issue at this point is not even about whether Loftis really was retired by April 2010, as he claims. Maybe it has now become about the media's determination to repeat what may be a fiction because it fits with a certain narrative, and that, as with Dr. Drew, the narrative matters more than whether the facts supporting it have any resemblance to what actually happened.
Image: Performers-turned-teachers Stace Halas and Shawn Loftis