A grade-school teacher in Bronx, New York, who blogged about her years as a prostitute has been reassigned pending an inquiry. Melissa Petro never worked as a prostitute during her time at the public school.
The petite blond teacher is no longer working at Public School 70, where she taught art since August 2007. Her recent revelations about her years as a sex worker prior to joining the school has sparked a firestorm over her professional protocol.
According to the New York Times, Petro, 30, has been reassigned to administrative duties pending an inquiry by Richard J. Condon, the special commissioner of investigation for the city schools.
The controversy began in early September when Petro wrote for the news site Huffington Post a blog post titled Thoughts From a Former Craigslist Sex Worker. Petro described her life a prostitute on the classified site's "erotic services" pages, linking her story to recent news about Craigslist taking down that particular section in the U.S.
She wrote, "Craigslist at that time provided a simple, familiar forum through which I could do my business with complete anonymity, from the safety and convenience of my own home." She went on to say, "It has been some years since the last time I met a stranger through Craigslist for reasons other than to buy or sell a piece of furniture. I hope to never again make the choice to trade sex for cash even as I risk my current job and social standing to speak out for an individual's right to do so."
The Huffington Post article has attracted 606 comments so far.
In another contribution to a book on sex workers, Petro wrote: "...through sex work I discovered in myself a seemingly unending source of power and autonomy relating but not only having to do with my newfound ability to make money, and lots of it, anywhere in the world."
It should be noted Petro joined P.S. 70 eight months after she quit working as a Cragslist sex worker.
Several parents told the New York Post they were shocked to learn about Petro's saucy past. She's not a good role model. I do not want my daughters to find out about this," Yocelyn Quezada said to a Post reporter, "and I do not want my daughters to be around that kind of person."