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Stacie Halas, the former junior high school science teacher who was dismissed from her position at Richard B. Haydock Intermediate School after it was revealed she was once a porn star, is fighting to get her job back, NBC Los Angeles reports.
At a hearing Thursday, Halas made an emotional plea, saying that her first porn shoot made her feel "dirty" and "shameful." She let herself down, she said, but felt trapped because she needed cash as her parents and sisters couldn't even afford groceries.
Her lawyer, Richard Schwab argued in court that Halas, 32, was done with the X-rated business when she started her job as a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher at the Oxnard, Calif. school in 2009. Furthermore, while porn might not be a respected industry, it is still legal, and Halas only resorted to the profession because she needed the money.
"I think most of us have something in our backgrounds," Schwab told NBC Los Angeles after the hearing. "And I ask anybody here to cast the first stone."
Oxnard school officials are unsympathetic. They say that they never knew she had appeared in pornographic videos until April, and that lying to her boss was grounds for dismissal, according to district spokesman Tom DeLapp. He said the fact that Halas listed being a lifeguard and working at Subway as prior employment but omitted her porn star past “is very telling.”
Schwab claims that his client’s appearance in adult films — a career that spanned from 2005 to 2007, years before her teaching job — has not hindered her ability to be an effective teacher.
School officials view the situation differently, however, and maintain Halas’ past is too much of a distraction to allow her back in the classroom. She was put on administrative leave in April and eventually fired after some students and teachers reported they had seen her in a video they described as "hardcore pornography."
The administrative panel is expected to take several days to make a decision on Halas’ case.
Two months ago, Susan Brennan, a former West Ottawa High School teacher, filed a federal employment discrimination lawsuit against the Michigan district, claiming her firing two years ago was due to her previous job as a stripper, which her then-husband had forced her into taking. The school claimed she was dismissed due to her frequent absences, failure to teach students the prescribed curriculum, failure to use acceptable grading practices and using a cell phone during class.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post suggested that Halas was "moonlighting" as an actor in pornographic films. She was no longer acting in films when she became a teacher.