Cristy Nicole Deweese, the 21-year-old Spanish teacher at the Yvonne Ewell Townview Center magnet school in Dallas, probably didn’t expect to be international news this month. But that’s what happens—still—when the world finds out that a pretty young high school teacher posed for naked pictures when she was 18. There are stories in the British Daily Mail and in The Australian highlighting “her sexy secret” and “her raunchy past.” You can read about her in French, or in Russian. Domestically, the news is similarly fascinated by Deweese: KDFW ran a segment about the “teacher’s Playboy past,” with an image from the shoot of Deweese making bedroom eyes at the camera.
Deweese was, again, 18 when she posed for the photoshoot as Playboy’s “Coed of the Month,” which means that other outlets have described her as a “barely legal” “sultry student” at the time of the shoot. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze questioned, “Would you be okay with a former Playboy model teaching your kid Spanish?” and cited an unnamed parent at the school who asked, “Can you be an effective teacher when a classroom full of high school boys is envisioning you naked?” Beck’s conservative politics might make his outlet an obvious one to ask these questions, but the Dallas Observer, whose editorial stance typically has little in common with The Blaze’s, made a similar point: “Every time she walks in front of her class, some students will have trouble shaking those Playboy images and her brief but revealing Playboy interview,” Eric Nicholson wrote on the site’s Unfair Park blog.
Of course, the unnamed parent quoted by The Blaze doesn’t ask if it’s possible that perhaps the teenagers in her class might have envisioned her naked even if she hadn’t posed for Playboy. Teenagers are distracted by a lot of things in school, and the notion that it’s difficult to respect someone after you’ve seen their breasts suggests a potentially unhealthy worldview. Still, when it comes to cases like Deweese’s, the outlets covering her seem to want it both ways: They want to play the role of the moral scold questioning whether or not it’s acceptable for a teacher to have posed for naked photos, while also accompanying their outrage with photos from Deweese’s shoot.
But the question of “does having posed for sexy pictures at some point in your life disqualify you from ever being a teacher” is one whose answer is likely to get a whole lot more complicated over time. Deweese is 21—her photoshoot ran in 2011—which makes her part of a generation that has had the technology to take sexy photos of themselves basically since puberty. Deweese’s photos were professionally shot, but according to this poll from 2011 on the women’s-interest site The Frisky, only 37% of the more than 7,000 respondents said that they’d never send anyone naked photos of themselves; a 2008 poll from Glamour found that 63% of the women who responded had already posed for sexy photos taken by a man. It’s not a stretch to suspect that those numbers might spike as the generations that have grown up with Snapchat and YouPorn start being asked similar questions. Fact is, people are interested in sex, they take more pictures of themselves than ever, and they share hundreds of thousands of photos online every second—at some point, it’ll be hard to come up with a pool of teachers who haven’t got racy photos out there somewhere.
The list of people whose careers have been derailed when certain photos have surfaced is long. It includes politicians like Anthony Weiner, and current MSNBC host Krystal Ball, who lost her 2010 congressional race after mildly suggestive pictures of her at a Christmas party surfaced. It’s also got a lot of people who work in schools on it. Manhattan guidance counselor Tiffany Webb was fired in 2012 after 12 years on the job after photos taken before she began employment with the school surfaced; Los Angeles teacher Stacey Halas lost her job after students discovered video from her prior porn career online; in 2006, Austin teacher Tamara Hoover was fired after photos she’d posed for as part of an art project by her then-girlfriend appeared online.
There’s no word yet on what’ll happen to Deweese. Her students, meanwhile, seem determined that she should keep her job: