Bloomberg: Teacher, Former Sex Worker Could Lose Tenure

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    It looks like this Bronx elementary school teacher might be without a job soon if Mayor Bloomberg has anything to do with it.

    Melissa Petro, an art teacher who was found blogging on the Huffington Post about her past as a sex worker, could lose her tenure pending an investigation, the New York Post reports.

    "What our legal rights are, whether she broke the law in terms of applying and getting tenure or whether the system just broke down that's being investigated," Bloomberg said today to the Post when asked about Petro's extracurricular activities.

    Bloomberg said that after learning about Petro's past, he contacted both the Department of Investigations and the teachers' union, and decided that he didn't want her teaching children.

    "The first thing I did when I was informed of the situation was say she should be removed from the classroom," he said.

    Petro was reassigned this week, and had apparently received tenure even though some school administrators knew about her past.

    In a blog post on The Rumpus, she wrote that a sympathetic administrator had, “kindly asked if I couldn’t blog under a pseudonym”, however, Petro declined to do so. In the same post, she chose not to hide her former identity, “for the sake of the rights and integrity of myself and every other man or woman who makes or has made choices similar to mine.”

    Petro’s action as a sex worker apparently took place as a graduate student, before she was hired as a teacher.

    In the city’s school systems, tenure for teachers must be recommended by the schools principle and then approved by the local superintendents. Mayor Bloomberg’s new plan to overhaul the tenure process with a four-tier grading system does not include a background check.