Lauren Miranda Selfie: A judge determined Tuesday that a former Bellport Middle School teacher who sued the district for gender discrimination after claiming she was fired for taking a topless Lauren Miranda selfie can proceed with her $3 million case against the school system and superintendent.
Lauren Miranda, of Mastic Beach, had worked with the district as a math teacher since 2015. She claimed she was fired because a pupil came into possession of a photo of herself that she had taken and shared with a former boyfriend who also worked for the district.
Miranda’s attorney, John Ray of Miller Place, declared it a “groundbreaking victory” in a federal court battle against the South Country Central School District and Superintendent Joseph Giani.
Lauren Miranda Selfie, a teacher
According to U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan, Miranda was fired from the school because the photo showed her as a “topless girl.
Giani informed Miranda that she would be given tenure, but she was fired because of a photograph of her “female breasts,” he wrote. According to Cogan, the male instructor involved was never disciplined.
According to Cogan, the defendants’ motion to dismiss was “granted in part” and “denied in part,” according to Cogan. According to Cogan, Miranda can proceed with allegations of gender discrimination and civil rights violations; the judge dropped three other counts.
“Male bare breast displays in schools have never been sanctioned,” Ray remarked. “Similarly, exposing a woman’s breasts should not be penalised.”
“Firing a woman because her breasts were seen in a photograph can be the basis for a viable gender discrimination case,” Cogan decided, according to Ray.
There was no justification for defendants to terminate plaintiff’s employment before the emergence of the image,” the court said. This raises the question of whether, at least in a school environment, a school district can treat a female teacher’s breasts differently than a male teacher’s.
“As a result, Plaintiff has presented enough facts to reasonably assert her termination was due to her gender,” Ray ruled.
“This is a watershed moment for women and the millennial generation,” Ray declared. “Older generations’ lustful mindsets are coming to an end.”
“The district has made no remarks,” Giani said when asked for a reaction.
According to Ray, Cogan’s ruling was “the first” of its sort in America.
Ray and his client are seeking Miranda’s reinstatement as “compensation for the evil that they have done,” according to Ray. If a settlement is reached, he says he expects a “fight.”
“I would argue it’s a triumph for women in general, not just Lauren privately,” he continued. Exposed breasts were once thought to be passionate, sexual, and sensual by the preceding generation. That’s not how millennials see things.”
Miranda expressed her relief with the decision.
“It feels like this validates the reality that something went wrong with me.” I’m standing up for myself and other women, and I’m teaching my pupils that when someone does anything wrong, you must defend yourself, even if it’s a difficult battle.”
Miranda, who now works for a charter school in New York City, said she was “blown away” by the firing and the district’s handling of the situation.
“My emotions were not taken into account.” They were using my money to convey a message to the community and students.”
“[Women] need to speak up for each other and support one another,” she continued. If you don’t bring these injustices to light, we’ll never be able to break through the glass ceiling.”
In a prior interview, Ray discussed the case with Patch.
“What’s happening here is that the school administration and the board have effectively sexualised a non-sexual scenario and have successfully stigmatised and objectified her as a female since her breasts were shown in the photo,” he added. “This is a plain, non-salacious photo that was intended for her boyfriend’s personal use only.”
Mirando stated that she had no intention of sharing the photo with any of the students. Ray noted that the photo was taken two years prior.
Ray and Miranda said they have “no idea” how the district got the picture. According to the lawsuit, the community claimed it got a snapshot of a pupil.
“How come they fired her when she didn’t circulate the selfie?” ‘You have to leave because you cannot teach when pupils can sit in your classroom and look at this photo on their cell phones,’ the superintendent said. It was an illegally discriminating job.”
Miranda was suspended and fired on March 28, 2019, following a meeting with district administrators on January 14, 2019, during which Miranda was interrogated “with the goal of humiliating, shaming, and berating her,” according to the lawsuit, despite “excellent assessments” across the board. Her performance was rated as “very effective” in the evaluations.
Her counsel urged that she be reinstated in a letter to the district.
“Why should a woman be subjected to such harassment?” Ray remarked. “There are bare-chested men on the Super Bowl, there are bare-chested swimmers, bare-chested men are working in ditches, cutting front lawns, and bare-chested men are working in ditches.
Nobody is bothered by their breasts. The only thing that separates them from her is that they both have nipples. He is unable to breastfeed children, while hers is. It’s ridiculous.”
“The posture they’ve taken—they’re living in a bygone period,” he continued. This is the millennial, or Generation Z, period, and people understand that men and women are equal. “I presume they didn’t get the memo on that.”