The curious case of porn star turned Oxnard junior high teacher

01/24/2013

 

It’s been nine months since Stacie Halas lost her job as a junior high school science teacher at Haydock Intermediate School in Oxnard. She had been placed on paid leave a month earlier when students and teachers told school officials they had found videos on the Internet that revealed her hard-core porn past. At first, it was believed she had been moonlighting as a porn star while teaching but, in fact, she had spent roughly nine months from 2005 to 2007 in the adult film industry. After it had been confirmed that it was, indeed, Halas in the videos, the board voted unanimously to fire her on the grounds that her appearance would be a disruption in the classroom and also that she had been deceitful about her porn past when questioned by her superiors. Shortly thereafter, she hired an attorney to help her fight for her job on appeal to the Commission on Professional Competence. Unfortunately for Halas, the commission sided with the board last week; and now her future as a school teacher at Haydock may be determined in court, should she proceed with that legal route.


In the curious case of Stacie Halas, it seems everyone has an opinion. One school of thought is, everyone deserves redemption, especially when the immoral/unethical act to forgive was not illegal and no one was hurt in the process. Another idea is that, with her past being so public, accessible and sexually provocative, she shouldn’t be affiliated with underage children, especially preteens and teenagers, in an academic environment. Yet another notion revolves around the fact that she lied about her porn past and that, in itself, is condemnable. On the other side of that argument, she wasn’t under oath so therefore her lies are irrelevant because everyone lies. Back to the other side, though everyone lies, she lied to her superiors about her background in relation to how it was affecting her employment as a teacher.


What’s really mind-boggling about all of this is the fact that Halas was working toward her teaching credential when she decided to take up a hard-core porn career. She knew she wanted to be a teacher. One might go so far to say that she knew she wanted to teach middle school science. She, along with everyone else who has access to the Internet, should have known how videos go viral and that there is little to no privacy on the web. Unless the pornographer was totally deceptive about the accessibility of her videos, she should have had some clue that those videos could have been found.  Somehow, it seems, however, that she didn’t think the videos would damage her reputation or affect her ability to teach teenage kids. Though some may say it’s the parents’ fault that teenagers have access to porn on the web, curiosity is tough to be reckoned with, especially when kids are just coming of age and their teacher is a porn star. Halas also justified her decision by saying the money was going to pay for groceries for her family. Apparently any other fast-money-making profession, such as stripping or cocktail waitressing, wasn’t an option.


While Halas’ diehard supporters will remain steadfast on the idea that she should be reinstated at Haydock (some have also said she should get a big payout for being unlawfully fired), the fact is, we live in a society where sex is shamed and violence is condoned. It’s an appalling state of affairs but any person of rational mind knows that hard-core porn is frowned upon and that sex is a sensitive topic in this country, especially when it comes to discussing it with children. It’s still unknown what road Halas will take in an effort to save her teaching career — though perhaps a career as a college professor isn’t impractical — but until we decide collectively as a country and as a society to fully discuss human sexuality and change our perspectives on it, redemption for people in situations like Halas’ will remain elusive. But there may be a little bit of hope that that conversation will come to fruition sooner rather than later: If she does go to court and the court decides in her favor (according to legal experts, that is highly unlikely), then school administrators, teachers and parents will be forced to talk about it instead of ignoring it. The curious case of Stacie Halas, however, serves as a valuable lesson in unintended consequences and how some short-sided decisions we make today can irreparably damage our idea of prosperity for the future. 

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