A clerical worker from a Quebec-area high school has been suspended for her involvement in adult films. The woman, whose stage name is Samantha Ardente, is a long-standing employee with the school commission, having worked for them since 2002. Ardente has been at her current post at Les Etchemins school for the past two years. Quiet years at that.
Until one of the high school students spotted her in a pornographic video, that is. At that point, things got a bit noisy. And thus beginneth the most recent incarnation of the should-people-involved-in-the-porn-industry-be-allowed-to-work-in-schools debate.
As implied in the last line, these stories, um, pop up from time to time. Last year, Carolyn wrote about Melissa Petro, a 30-year-old art teacher who went public with her past dealings in prostitution via an essay she wrote for the Huffington Post. Ultimately, Carolyn didn’t have a problem with Petro’s past, but did have a problem with the teacher’s willingness to flaunt that past in a public essay, especially one published on such a highly visible site.
Earlier this month, Meredith wrote about Tericka Dye, who, under the stage name of Rikki Andersin, had appeared in pornographic films some 15 years ago. And though she’s no longer active in the adult industry, Dye was placed on administrative leave by her school before eventually resigning from her post. And Meredith, for one, couldn’t understand why the woman was being penalized for “legal sins of her past.” And, to an extent, I can certainly understand why.
Enter Samantha Ardente, another school employee, but, unlike Dye and Petro, one whose job does not put her in direct contact with the students at the school. Yet, despite that fact, it looks as if her fate will mirror that of the other two. According to the Star: “While officials acknowledge Ardente hadn’t done anything illegal, the school board said her cinematic acitivities don’t correspond with the values being taught at the school.”
There are obviously two sides to this argument. That of the school’s and that of all the people who say: “Hey, what these people did in their past is their own business. As is however they currently choose to spend their time outside of work. As long as they didn’t do anything illegal, they should be allowed to keep their jobs.”
And I get that argument. And what’s more, part of me agrees with it. But, unfortunately, it’s not as simple as black-and-white Constitutional rights, if for no other reason that than what’s happened in the Ardente case:
“She is now quite the celebrity among [the students]. Her video spread like wildfire as the teenagers forwarded each other the Internet links.
“The website belonging to the company that produced her movie was deluged with traffic Thursday to the point that it was only allowing access to paying members.”
To me, the bottom line is this: once kids have learned about a school employee’s past as a prostitute, that school employee has officially become a distraction. And once kids learn about a school employee’s (past or current) participation in pornographic films, and, in turn, can go online and watch these films (as many did in Ardente’s case), that school employee has officially become an even bigger distraction.
And it seems to me that educating our youth is hard enough without willingly taking on scandalous distractions. And while “right” and “wrong” in these cases are as hard to define as they are to agree upon, one thing’s for certain. Any school facing such a situation is placed in a tricky spot, indeed.
What do you think? Should Ardente be allowed to keep her job? What if she were a teacher?