Although not a highly respected field, pornography is a legal industry for those who choose its work as their occupation.
Courts in the United States have struggled with how the law should treat material that may be offensive or considered obscene to the general public. In the case California v. Freeman, the making of hardcore pornography was legalized in California by freedoms granted to Americans under the First Amendment of the Constitution. Adults are allowed to own, see, make or publish this type of material, with some exceptions.
Earlier this year, Stacie Halas, an Oxnard middle school science teacher, was fired for her involvement in the porn business, even though it was years before she started her career as an educator. Her past profession was reported to the school board after students had found one of her pornographic movies online.
Oxnard school officials confirmed the allegations of Halas being in porn movies and uncovered her alias “Tiffany Six” shortly after. According to interviews with Tom DeLapp, a spokesman for Oxnard schools, Halas had lied about her past employment and that alone was reason enough to fire her.
School district officials also claimed that students who knew about her time in the adult film industry would be too distracted to effectively learn from such a role model.
Last week, an NBC news segment was aired that reported Halas is currently in hearings, fighting to get her job back. Despite the scrutiny and opinions about her involvement in the adult film industry, she hopes to once again be a science teacher.
School officials have commented to the press that Halas should not be reinstated as an educator, but those arguments simply aren’t strong.
First and foremost, the fact that Halas did not list on her resume that she was in once in pornographic films should not be a main factor held against her; what should be the main concern here is that the school’s background check did not reveal her past.
As Halas’ attorney, Richard Schwab stated to NBC, “It was up to the school district to look into her background.”
If a simple employment check was not verified by the school district in this case, more incriminating and dangerous facts can be left undiscovered in the future that can actually pose a danger for students.
It is also important to take into account that Halas’ past profession is legal and was a temporary solution to financial problems she was facing at the time. Halas has stated to the press that her only reason for acting in porn was for money.
In an article by the Ventura County Star, it is reported how Schwab even questioned a district official during a hearing as to whether it was appropriate to teach students that when a person makes a mistake that’s not criminal, the person can seek change and improve.
Instead of seeing Halas as a negative influence like district officials inferred in their response, she is actually the exact opposite. Yes, some will frown upon her involvement in pornography, but the fact that she reformed herself is something to admire.
Halas was involved in pornography between 2005 and 2007, but had left that in the past by the time she started teaching in 2009.
She left the adult film business to finish her education and get her teaching credentials, and that is an inspiring story.
It is safe to say that everyone has made a mistake. Sometimes those mistakes are something that are better forgotten or kept secret, out of fear of criticism. This was the case with Halas, and her past will not affect her ability to be a good teacher.
The school district argues that her involvement in pornography is a negative influence and distraction. Halas, however, is not encouraging her students to do the same.
She is educating them about science, which is a completely different subject. She is not showing students that she used to act in adult films, nor is she flaunting that fact.
After all, the main argument against her is that she didn’t tell anyone about her past. She has the courage to fight for what she really wants, which is to teach, and that should be the real news factor here.