Monday, March 12, 2012

Former Gay Porn Star Allowed To Teach After Being Fired

Every so often, we hear a news story about a teacher who was fired after their (often minimal) porn industry past caught up with them. The ratio of male to female teachers fired for their on-camera escapades is disproportionate; there are far more female teachers who have been fired for appearing in porn than male teachers. Is this because there are more female teachers who have appeared in porn? Perhaps. Similarly, though, the men that are fired for their dalliances are usually ones who have worked in gay porn. Is the stigma placed upon the performer dependent upon their sex/sexuality? Perhaps the stigma that is placed upon women and gay men who have worked in the porn industry comes from the concept of permissiveness or deviance that heterosexual males–frequently the insertive partners in porn–do not carry with them.

Shawn Loftis, whose porn name was Collin O'Neal, is an American gay pornographic actor and director who appears in gay porn films and magazines. He has used his real name as a substitute teacher, his teacher's certification was revoked in April 2011, after being revealed his gay porn past -he quit active porn filming in the spring of 2010- and being suspended from his substitute teaching position in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools in January 2011.

When Loftis was suspended from his teaching job in January, the school district justified their decision by citing Rule 6Gx13-4A-1.21, which states that school faculty, “are expected to conduct themselves, both in their employment and in the community, in a manner that will reflect credit upon themselves and the school system.” From seeing this rule, two questions can be raised. One, how can this rule be enforced and what are its parameters? Secondly, who decides what “reflects credit”?

The 36-year-old is a graduate of Florida International University, where he studied international relations with a focus on the Middle East, according to the Toronto Sun. In addition to his teaching endeavors, Loftis also worked as a citizen reporter for CNN iReport, and Loftis has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Miami, is a citizen reporter for CNN and left the porn industry to get his teaching credential. Loftis seems to be entirely “credible.” Also, while Loftis was in the industry, he was a successful entrepreneur, creating an eponymous production company and series, “World of Men.”  

There are many reasons that people go into porn. While one can never assume why someone is in the industry, many fall into it when they do not have the means to do other jobs. When they get the means, or are done with the industry for whatever reason, and would like to find employment outside of sex work, they are turned away or fired from jobs because they did porn. Have you looked at the price of tuition at FIU or Miami?  FIU is roughly $20,000 per year for undergraduates and Miami is nearly $45,000 per year for graduate students.  No wonder he went into porn, with that body he could definitely use it to make money to pay for his education.

How can former members of the porn industry, which employs roughly 12,000 people a year in California alone, be denied jobs because they are “morally abhorrent”? Where is the line of demarcation that decides when a part of someone’s past does not “reflect credit?”

As LA Weekly is reporting, Shawn Loftis will not only be permitted to teach, but will also be eligible to apply for a permanent position as an educator. He will, however, reportedly remain on probation for two years.

Loftis, who had been working as a substitute teacher at numerous Miami area schools when he was dismissed last year after a principal discovered his films on a website, praised the Florida Education Practices Commission's decision to overrule his termination. "This is my past and I left it behind," he told LA Weekly, noting that his work as a porn actor and director was not illegal. "I can use my experiences in life to teach kids. The key point is that they said when you go back to the classroom and a student brings this up to you, you will be able to handle that. I thought that was highly progressive of them."

Loftis' case mirrors that of Kevin Hogan, a Boston-based English teacher who was placed on administrative leave after Fox News broke the news that he had acted under the pseudonym "Hytch Cawke" in gay pornographic movies like "Fetish World" and "Just Gone Gay 8," which were released in 2010. In addition, a California junior high teacher was reportedly placed on paid administrative leave earlier this month amid allegations that she appeared in a pornographic video, the Associated Press reports.

I personally am pleased that Shawn was given his job back.  He is well educated, and besides, I'd love to have someone this hot teaching at my school.

SOURCES:

3 comments:

Jay M. said...

Good news for a change. Thanks for the reportage.

Peace <3
Jay

GVP said...

That's interesting. We had a talk on Australian workplace laws. Other than the usual discrimination issues eg. race, sexual orientation, etc. Past employment was also included - the speaker specifically mentioned about sex worker and porn industry. And everyone went LOL.

the island guy said...

Interesting read. I've been promiscuous in the past and well... I'd hate to be judged for it in the future.