BELLPORT, New York — Lauren Miranda refuses to be shamed.
The former math teacher at Bellport Middle School was fired after a topless selfie sent to her boyfriend in 2016 got into the hands of students. It’s a private matter that has thrust her onto a public platform and put the small town of 2,000 in the headlines.
Miranda is suing the school district for her job back or $3 million and she's basing her case on gender discrimination. She’s been speaking out about the ever-growing problem of photos shared without consent, affecting women more than men.
“How do girls feel when this happens to them?" Miranda told VICE News. "Their photo gets shared without their permission or consent. And what do we say to them?: Crawl in a hole, quit going to school...?” If the same thing happened to a man, she insists, he'd never lose his career and be shamed.
The community has been divided on whether Miranda’s firing was the right call. Monique Armann, a parent of a student who attended the middle school a year ago, now runs a forum on Facebook for residents, including parents of kids at the school, where they can debate Lauren’s firing — privately. She says more women in the online community are outraged over the firing, and she also thinks the community needs to seriously deal with the photo sharing issue, as it will likely affect this online generation of kids for a long time.
VICE News reached out to several South Country Central District school officials for comment, but they said they don’t comment on active litigation. Lawyers for the district are expected to depose Miranda on May 2.
This segment originally aired April 9, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.