The Cougar and the Catwalker

City public school teacher sues after being fired for affair with "student"

Call it  the case of the cougar and the catwalker.

Gina Salamino is a 37-year-old public school teacher. Joshua Walter is a 19-year-old model. They met when he was just 12, according to the Daily News, and began dating about two years ago when he was still in high school. The odd pair now lives together in Queens with their child, and they say they're happy.

But the unusual affair cost Salamino her job and she's suing the city to get her gig back, insisting she had no idea he was a student when they started seeing one another.  Salamino told The News that Walter was so busy strutting on the catwalk for the likes of Hugo Boss that he never attended a single class during the 2006-07 school year. Therefore he's not a student. 

"They have no case," Salamino, a former second grade teacher at PS 121, told The News. "There is no improper relationship."

School investigators took an interest in Salamino's affair in 2006 after receiving a tip that she was seen kissing and hugging a much younger man.  The Department of Education fired her after being unconvinced that the globetrotting Walter was not a student even though he hardly set foot in Bryant High School in Long Island City.  

The young model, who graced the runways of Milan and Paris and the pages of glossy magazines, hardly seemed traumatized by the affair.

"'I'm tapping that a-- and there's nothing you can do about it,'" the teen said in response to an inquiry, according to a report from Special Commissioner of Investigation Richard Condon.

Even Walter's mother defended the affair.

"What difference would it make?" she told probers, according to The News. "[Student A] is [redacted] years of age and no longer in school, so it would not be illegal."

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