High school band teacher Kristin Sundman resigned from her job this week after being outed for appearing in sex work.
As Fox 8 reports, Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent, Ohio, suspended the 31-year-old last week after she was linked to pornographic videos and photos online.
Sundman performed under the name melodyXXXtune or Melody Tune and appeared on several porn sites including Pornhub, SunnyLaneLive.com, and ItsCleoLive.com. She reportedly appeared in videos performing masturbation scenes, as well as sex acts with men and women. (The Daily Mail reports that Pornhub removed Sundman’s videos on Monday “at the request of the copyright owner.”)
Sundman had been employed as assistant band director at the high school for the past eight years. It is unclear whether she participated in any of the videos or photos while she was employed by the school.
The school’s investigation into Sundman began after rumors began to circulate about her on Twitter last week. “A sixth grader from Kent found the teacher on (a pornographic website) and word spread around fast,” Yadin Gloi, a graduate of nearly Stow High School, told KentWired.com. “I received the photos yesterday and put it on Twitter…After that, word spread like county-wide and that’s when the pictures started to get around.”
Sundman has not been accused of behaving inappropriately with students in or out of the classroom. However, the school is legally allowed to place teachers on leave if they are found to be a distraction from the educational environment, KentWired reported. According to attorney Paul Mastriacovo:
“Teachers are subject to the terms of their contract and the collective bargaining agreement…if the contact has a ‘morality’ requirement as one of its terms, a teacher can be terminated for violating that part of the contract.”
Public school teachers with histories of sex work frequently find themselves under the sort of scrutiny Sundman is currently facing. Five years ago, Daily Dot contributor Melissa Petro wrote an essay for the Huffington Post about her experiences as a Craigslist sex worker. Several months later, she was forced to resign from her job as an art teacher at an elementary school in the Bronx. (She has since become a prominent advocate of sex worker rights.)
Petro publicly commented on Sundman’s resignation in a series of tweets today, empathizing with the former teacher and arguing for sex workers to be included in anti-discrimination legislation.
So, an Ohio high school teacher resigns after it's revealed she has experiences in the sex industry: http://t.co/9yzUTREFb6— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
First off: it's resign or risk being fired for misconduct. Lose—which u will— & you're denied unemployment, just as you become unemployable.— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
A federal anti-discrimination law is thought to be the next fight for LGBT rights. I say, individuals w experiences selling sex be included.— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
Sex workers don't always think of themselves as "sexual minorities"— They'd rather be thought of as "normal."— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
The problem, of course, is that current and even former sex workers aren’t viewed as normal.— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
Even sex workers w largely vanilla heterosexual lifestyles outside work are considered deviant— not only so long as they sell sex but after.— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
Sex workers are unable to acquire other forms of work due to their current occupation, which is sometimes chosen out of desperation #ironic— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
Former sex workers risk losing the careers they’ve transitioned to, sometimes in very public and humiliating ways. #ironic— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
It's #ironic that people want porn stars, prostitutes and other sex workers to leave the industry but then shun those of us who do.— Melissa Petro (@melissapetro) September 18, 2015
Sundman has yet to publicly comment on her resignation. The New York Daily News reports that her Twitter account has been deleted and that her phone was disconnected yesterday morning.
H/T Fox 8 | Illustration by Max Fleishman