Be True to Your School: The importance of maintaining the same standards for all

Recently, a paraprofessional or teaching assistant came under fire for her series of outfit choices.  28 yr. old Patrice Brown launched her education career as a fourth grade paraprofessional at an Atlanta elementary school earlier this year.  Brown, proudly expressed her excitement for her position on her Instagram page with an occasional selfie.  The selfie featured a smiling Brown standing in her classroom, free of any teachers or students.  The selfies as well as Brown’s job were greatly scrutinized, after vast social media attention accumulated on her page and within headlines. Atlanta Public Schools (APS) have since asked Brown to remove the photos from social media and general public view.  In a recent statement released by The Atlanta Public Schools, they stated that Brown has received counseling on the situation.  Listed below is the statement:

Atlanta Public Schools can confirm that Patrice Brown is a paraprofessional employed with the district. She was given guidance regarding the APS employee dress code, the use of social media, and Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators, and she has been cooperative in addressing her presence on social media.

Brown has since followed APS’s firm request, deleting all of the specified photos from her Instagram. Brown stated, “I just wish they would respect me and focus on the positive and what truly matters, which is educating the children of the future generations and providing and caring for them.”

Some say that the outfits she wore to school were provocative, while others claim that she was appropriately and righteously expressing herself through fashion.

I believe, an individual has the freedom to wear whatever he or she desires. Since the beginning of time, fashion has enabled individuals to express themselves through a variety of colors and fabrics which they feel best represent their character and comfort level.  However, in a professional setting, a dress code should be recognized and followed.

I’m not here to declare that what Ms. Brown wore was right or wrong, as I am not familiar with the specific elementary school’s dress code and policies.  I am; however, here to say that everyone- regardless of sex, age, gender, or body type- should abide by the same dress code or professionally requested attire.

Earlier this year, Bloemfontein Primary School teacher Gemma Laird was fired after some parents discovered that Laird’s second job was a glamour model.  21 yr. old Laird claimed that the primary school was aware of her current position at Lexi Fashion.  Some of her photo shoots included swimsuits, dresses, lingerie, and various high fashion clothing.  While the photos were never originally published on her personal social media account, they were posted on the company’s website. After concerned parents brought the photos to the principal’s attention, Laird was immediately terminated.

In 2014, social media had a field day with the very public modeling pictures of mathematician and engineering professor- Pietro Boselli.  Boselli’s worked as a model while simultaneously teaching math and engineering at the University College London.  Some of his modeling pictures include themed photo shoots as well as shirtless underwear photos.  He was praised on social media, deemed ‘The World’s Hottest Math Teacher,’ and continued his teaching career at the University College London.  Recently, Boselli decided to quit his teaching career after landing a modeling contract with the Giorgio Armani EA7 Sportswear line.

While it’s important to maintain a professional demeanor and appearance; it is most important to hold every employee to the same standard and degree.  If one professional is fired due to ‘revealing’ photos, then other professionals should be eligible for the same punishment.

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