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10 Teachers Fired For Ridiculous Reasons

by Jonathan H. Kantor
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Teaching is often a calling, and the people who enter into the profession do so for noble reasons. After all, it isn’t for the excellent compensation and benefits, but that’s a conversation for a different list. Teachers work their butts off to ensure our children don’t grow up without a basic understanding of math, history, science, literature, and a ton of other subjects.

See Also: 10 Teachers Who Completely Lost Their Minds

Despite their hard work, there have been instances of teachers being fired for strange and often ridiculous reasons. Of course, there are times when a teacher should be and is fired, but more often than not, those issues are over sexual crimes, and they don’t belong anywhere near children. These ten teachers did nothing so horrendous as molesting a child; instead, they were canned for rather ridiculous reasons.

10Carla – Twerking At A Dance Competition

Young Teacher caught Twerking on Spring Break in Mexico and FIRED

Carla was an elementary school teacher in a small Mexican town when she took a short vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. If you know anything about Cabo, you know it’s a fun place to unwind, and that’s exactly what she did. While wearing a bikini, she entered and won a dance competition, earning herself a quick $260. The dancing involved twerking and moving in a provocative manner. The Internet being what it is, and Carla being an attractive woman, the video went viral, and within a few hours, it was making the rounds online.

Carla didn’t think anything of her participation in the competition, so she finished her vacation, packed her things, and returned home to Cuidad Obregon in northern Mexico. When she showed up to work, thinking everything was alright, she was pulled aside by her superiors and fired. Carla spoke about her termination in an interview with Reforma, a Mexican newspaper, “I was singled out as immoral, called immature and a whore. I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s a dance competition, and participating in it does not define me as a person. I’m not naked or having sex, much less consuming drugs or disrespecting someone.”

9 Monica Toro Lisciandro – Being A Lesbian

You would think that it’s none of anyone’s business what a person’s sexual orientation is, but when it comes to a place like Covenant Christian School in Palm Bay, Florida, it’s everyone’s business. Monica Toro Lisciandro was a seasoned theater teacher, and the director of the school’s plays, but on October 2nd, 2019, she was called into the school administrators’ office unexpectedly. Not knowing what was happening, she strolled in and was outed as a lesbian, which was something she kept private up to that point.

“They told me that someone called the school with allegations against me and said I was in a relationship with another woman, that I attend pride events and that I host ‘homosexual’ activities at the studio.” She was outed after spending 35 years in the closet, so she decided to admit who she was, and she was promptly fired for violating the school’s morality policy, but only after she was lectured about sin. Lisciandro is fighting the termination, but there’s not much hope she will be successful. As of early 2020, there are no federal or Florida state laws protecting LGBTQ people from termination.

8Professor Nicholas Goddard – Starring In Adult Films

Most people expect the teachers watching over their children to be of good moral judgment, and while it’s not necessarily immoral to film yourself having sex, few parents would be pleased to learn that their child’s teacher was a porn star. That’s what happened in 2016 when the University of Manchester learned that one of its professors had been involved in filming pornography a decade earlier. Goddard, an Oxford-educated Chemical Engineering teacher, had gone through a stressful divorce, and turned to porn as an outlet… as one does.

The university suspended him immediately, and if you search for Goddard online, you will find that the then-60-year-old professor appeared in dozens of films, often with women 40 years his junior under the pseudonym, “Old Nick.” As that was the age of most of his students, it’s no wonder the university took action when his pornography career came to light. With the suspension active, Goddard stepped down and resigned from his teaching position. He wasn’t technically fired, but he knew he eventually would be and opted to take control of the situation and return to pornography.

7Allison Wint – Saying The Word “Vagina”

Allison Wint was working as a substitute art teacher at a Michigan middle school when the topic of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work came up as a topic of conversation. Now, if you know anything about O’Keeffe’s portfolio, it’s that all of those flowers were representative of vaginas. It’s not some lurid conspiracy theory about her paintings; it’s a widely accepted interpretation of her work. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it seems the administrators at the Harper Creek Middle School will abide the teaching of her paintings, but not the utterance of the word “vagina.”

What she actually said, as she recalled to the Detroit Free Press, was, “Imagine walking into a gallery when [O’Keeffe] was first showing her pieces, and thinking, ‘Am I actually seeing vaginas here, am I a pervert? I’m either a pervert or this woman was a pervert.’” She said the word approximately ten times in the course of her instruction, though, “it was never in a vulgar capacity.” The following day, the school principal informed her that she violated the school’s policy of discussing reproductive health without prior approval and terminated her.

6 Viktoria Popova – Wearing A One-Piece Bathing Suit

Viktoria Popova was a teacher at School Number 7 in Omsk, Russia, until some photos of her were found online. The pictures didn’t show her doing anything naughty or nasty; she was simply wearing a bathing suit. According to the Siberian Times, Popova had posted pictures of herself modeling swimwear on her Instagram page, and for that, she was fired for “bringing her school and profession into disrepute.” The firing sparked outrage on social media, and within short order, more than 3,000 other women and teachers posted pictures online of themselves in bikinis and other swimwear with the hashtag, “teachers are people too.”

Interestingly, this was one situation where the social media outrage may have worked. When the swimsuit photos began posting all over the Internet, the Omsk Region government made an announcement that Popova could return to her job. The government issued a statement: “The question of Viktoria’s future employment has been decided: she may decide to work as a teacher either at this school or another one.” Though this was undoubtedly good news, other options popped up as a result of the controversial firing, as she was quickly courted by the modeling agency, Plus Size Omsk.

5 John Maxwell – Cleaning Up A Dangerous Spill

John Maxwell was a sixth-grade science teacher at Pound Middle School in Omaha who was loved by his students. They lovingly referred to him as Mr. M. One day, he brought a vial of mercury to school to show the students how the element remained in a liquid state and other interesting aspects of mercury. One such aspect became a problem when a student accidentally dropped the vial. It cracked, and a small amount of mercury spilled, which was approximately the size of a nickel or quarter. Knowing how dangerous mercury is if it makes contact with skin, Maxwell cleaned it up and continued with his lesson.

Unfortunately, he did the deed himself, and while he managed to take care of the problem right there and then, doing so violated the school’s policy. He was supposed to report the spill, and when the principal learned of the accident that Sunday after a concerned parent called him at home, he launched an investigation the next day. Eventually, the investigation warranted Mr. M’s termination from the school, and one student reported on Redditt that he was working another job in a different school, elsewhere in the state.

4 Michelle Hammack – Putting Out A Fire

Jacksonville Teacher Fired for Leaving Classroom to Save Children from Fire

When you’re working at a daycare center, it’s important to ensure the safety of all the children present. That’s especially true when a fire breaks out, which is exactly what happened at a Florida daycare center where Michelle Hammack worked. Not wanting to see a bunch of children die from smoke inhalation and… you know, being burned to death, Hammack rushed into action. She grabbed a fire extinguisher, and put out the flames, saving all the children in the room, and had the fire spread, possibly the entire daycare center. Was she lauded as a hero? No, she was fired a few hours later.

The reason she was terminated is incredibly baffling because her boss fired her for leaving the children in her room unattended. She did that so she could put out the fire, suggesting the daycare manager would have preferred she watch the fire spread from another room instead of putting it out. What’s worse is, there’s no ambiguity about why she was fired. Her boss explained her termination in an interview, saying, “I fired her only because she left her room. It’s not acceptable, and if anybody else does the same thing, I will fire again. I will fire them. No question.”

3 Diane Tirado – Giving Students 0% For No Work

Diane Tirado was a teacher in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where she had taught for 17 years. In 2018, she began teaching social studies to eighth-graders at West Gate K-8 School, but she wouldn’t last the entire year. In a bizarre rule the school imposed, Mrs. Tirado was fired for giving children a 0% when they failed to turn in an assignment. She has explained that the school has a rule that says, in red ink and all caps in the school handbook, “NO ZERO’S – LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE IS 50%.” She disagreed with the rule and was given a termination letter on September 14th, 2018.

When she got the axe, she wrote a note on the board, which she snapped and shared on Facebook. Her note read, “Bye, kids. Mrs. Tirado loves you and wishes you the best in life! I have been fired for refusing to give you a 50% for not handing anything in. <3 Mrs. Tirado.” Of course, with a story like this one, there are conflicting accounts. It was later revealed that Mrs. Tirado was terminated for putting a student in a choke-hold and slapping another. She denies those allegations and sought council to sew the school district.

2 Teri James – Getting Pregnant

Private religious schools often have morality and lifestyle clauses in their contracts. When a teacher or other employee is found to have broken one of those clauses, they are often terminated, but even when this happens, it’s usually unfair and outright ridiculous. For one teacher, it became a reality after she became pregnant by her fiance. Teri James was employed at San Diego Christian College, and she did sign a lifestyle contract, which, in part, said that she must refrain from premarital sex, as that was the school’s standing as it related to living a supposedly holy lifestyle.

It was all going well and good for Ms. James, right up to the point she became pregnant. That wasn’t something she could hide, and as a result, the school terminated her for having premarital sex. That’s not the end of the story, though; when she left the school, the job was offered to the man who impregnated her. That man being her fiance who also engaged in premarital sex! This was a perfect example of the disparity of treatment for women and men when it comes to these so-called lifestyle morality clauses in contracts. Women are often fired over wearing bathing suits while men aren’t, and seeing as men can’t become pregnant, James was singled out.

1 Jennifer Mitts – Taking Care Of Her Students

Jennifer Mitts was a teacher at Red Bank High School in Tennessee who cared for her students. On two separate occasions, Mitts did the unthinkable: she helped her students when there was no other option. Her initial foray into helping out a kid who was desperately in need of her assistance came when a 17-year-old-girl, who was pregnant, was running a high fever and had pneumonia. Mitts drover her to the Emergency Room so she could receive treatment, and the student has since credited Mitts with saving her and her baby’s lives.

The second time, she had a student who was very sick, so she drove her to the Emergency Room, and because the student had no medical insurance, she paid the expenses out of her own pocket! Most people would label her a hero, and move on, but the school district went another route. Unfortunately, America is a highly litigious society, which made her actions dangerous for the school district. Despite the fact that she went above and beyond, she was forced to resign over the two incidents. She’s not without her supporters, and after teaching for 14 years, those supporters came out to petition for the school to hire her back, but the principal has thus far refused.

fact checked by Jamie Frater
Jonathan H. Kantor

Jonathan is a graphic artist, illustrator, and writer. He is a Retired Soldier and enjoys researching and writing about history, science, theology, and many other subjects.

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