A primary school teaching assistant has been fired due to her side-job as a model, after parents complained about images found on social media.
Gemma Laird, 21, has said that staff at Bloemfontein Primary School in Craghead, County Durham, were aware of her second job as a model when they chose her for the role.
After just a week in the position however, she has now been sacked with images of her posing for clothing company Lexi Fashions along with earlier stints as a lingerie model being openly cited as the reason.
“I was told that they didn’t want to damage the school’s reputation and that people would lose respect for the school if they found out I was a model,” Laird has told reporters.
The school’s head teacher told Laird that a parent had complained, after discovering her modelling shots on social media while searching for her name.
Describing her dismissal, Laird says: “I had been doing really well in the job and was getting great feedback. They said I was a natural with the children.
“After a week, I got called into the office and Laura Liddell, the headmistress, said, ‘I don’t want to have this conversation with you but I have to’.
“She sat me down and said somebody had been on my Facebook page and discovered that I was doing modelling work. They had reported me for it.
“I was told that they didn’t want to damage the school’s reputation and that people would lose respect for the school if they found out I was a model.
“Another thing she said was that some of the pupils have low self esteem, and she didn’t want them to search for me on Facebook or Instagram.
“She said she doesn’t want her year six pupils thinking it is acceptable to be a model. She made me feel dirty and like I was a prostitute. It’s ridiculous.”
The story comes within days of Pietro Boselli, dubbed ‘The World's Hottest Math Teacher’ landing a modelling contract with Armani.
The modelling side-job of Boselli, a mathematician and engineering lecturer at University College London, was discovered last year by students who shared images of him posing topless on social media.
Facebook and Twitter users soon caught on to the news, leading the widespread celebration of Boselli’s topless shots, impressive physique and dual teacher/model lifestyle.
The lecturer has now landed a contract as the face of Giorgio Armani’s EA7 sportswear, after choosing to leave his post to pursue modelling full time with agency Models 1.
Laura Liddell, head teacher at Bloemfontein Primary School, said of Laird’s dismissal: “Members of staff and those on apprenticeship placement in school are expected to adhere to certain standards of behaviour, including in relation to their use of social media, and to set a good example to pupils.
“It was brought to our attention that images which were not appropriate and which did not comply with our expected standards had been posted on social media by a newly appointed apprentice.
“Unfortunately we felt that we had no choice but to bring the placement to an end in order to offer the person the chance to seek an alternative placement elsewhere at the earliest opportunity.”
Many have criticised the decision taken by the school, holding up the cases of Laird and Boselli as examples of a gender related double standard.