So where are all the feminists demanding that a woman's body is her own? Where are the civil libertarians protesting the infringement of this woman's freedom of expression? Where are the liberals upset that private proclivities are being judged as public menaces?
They are nowhere. They have allowed this wanton attack upon individual freedom because it suits their peculiar morality. Worse, this woman did nothing criminal nor even morally wrong. No one was hurt or harmed. She did what she did in her own time – titillated straight men in a magazine format.
“To pose for a porn magazine simply lets the side down.”But what of the New Zealand Teachers' Disciplinary Tribunal? How did it come to this decision, to prohibit Ms Whitwell from teaching, for the rest of her life? Well, let's take a peek at decision 011/07, the Whitwell case:
The connection with the teaching profession was made even more explicit with the Respondent obviously draped over a school desk, leaving no doubt that there was a premeditated connection between the Respondent as a pornographic model, and her role as part of the teaching profession. Clearly the Respondent’s participation in a pornographic photographic feature has become a focal point of repeated publicity. It has become high profile, heightening the potential damage to the teaching profession. It was also noted that the majority of the teaching profession are women, who may find the Respondent’s activity and close connection to the teaching profession particularly distasteful.
Finally, in the context of the impact on the wider profession the majority of the Tribunal reflected again on the Respondent’s warning not to impose Victorian standards on today’s modern society which had different values. The majority of the Tribunal considered this issue very carefully and debated it at length. Without a doubt, it was agreed that teachers are expected to set and inculcate the values and standards of the communities they serve. It is true that these values and standards change and evolve over time. The majority of the Tribunal was also guided by the evidence presented by the school, and the reactions of the community served by the school. It was also noted that Rule 9(1)(o), was a broad test that covered actions that brought or were likely to bring discredit to the profession. This signalled a clear intention by Parliament to capture a wide range of activity with the aim of preserving and protecting the integrity of the profession. Accordingly, the majority of the Tribunal concluded after extensive deliberations, that the Respondent on this occasion had over stepped the mark and engaged in serious misconduct that was likely to bring the profession into disrepute.
On the above bases our conclusion is that the Complainant has made out its allegation that the Respondent has behaved in a way which constitutes serious misconduct.
Neil Kevin Mallon who is one of the New Zealand Teachers Council’s Case Co-ordinators, Aaron James Montgomery who is employed by the Council as a Systems Administrator and the Chair of the Board of the school which employed the Respondent for a time (and to whom we will refer as “Ms F”).
Very broadly speaking, there are three aspects of this. There was an editorial piece in which the magazine focused on the fact that the Respondent was a New Zealand teacher and that her featuring in the magazine was the subject of an investigation by the New Zealand Teachers Council. It sought to portray this as a contest between outmoded values on the one hand and personal freedom on the other. There was a narrative feature concerning the Respondent which emphasised much the same points. Neither of these pieces could be described as high water marks of journalism. Finally, there was a series of photographs of the Respondent. One area of controversy between the parties during the course of the hearing was the extent to which the Respondent was in any sense responsible for the emphasis placed in all of this on her being a teacher. In relation to this, the Complainant pointed both to the references in the editorial and the narrative to the fact that the Respondent was a teacher and to aspects of the photographs. The Respondent’s position, as it emerged, both on the papers and at the hearing, was that
XXXXXXXXXwas responsible for making the link and that she herself had no control over their editorial or narrative pieces and should not be held accountable for them. Frankly, the Tribunal regards that contention as an attempt to stretch its credibility beyond endurance. By the time of the XXXXXXXXXshoot, the Respondent was well aware that the fact that she was a teacher was an integral part of the magazine’s interest in her, and, by agreeing to pose for the magazine, must be taken to have consented to and been complicit in the presentation of her as a teacher. No doubt the magazine’s staff determined the way in which she was described, but it is in the Tribunal’s view nothing short of disingenuous for the Respondent to say that she cannot be held responsible for this description. Quite apart from anything else, the photographs include one of the Respondent draped over an old fashioned school desk. In the Tribunal’s view, the Respondent must assume responsibility for her being presented as a teacher and the emphasis placed on the New Zealand Teachers Council’s investigation. As to the photographs themselves, they depict the Respondent in various states of undress including totally naked.