Manhattan HS guidance counselor stripped of job over steamy-photo past
- By SUSAN EDELMAN
- Last Updated: 3:11 PM, October 7, 2012
- Posted: 12:41 AM, October 7, 2012
She’s too hot for teaching.
Tiffany Webb, a highly regarded guidance counselor at Murry Bergtraum HS for Business Careers downtown, was fired after 12 years with the Department of Education because photos of her in lingerie and bikinis from her early career as a model are still floating around the Internet.
Webb, now 37, said she posed in seductive undies between age 18 to 20, but stopped modeling several years before she became a city teacher in 1999. She has worked in elementary, middle and high schools.
But the photos — virtually all Photoshopped or altered, she says — kept popping up without her permission on sleazy sites such as “Mo Girls Entertainment” and “Showgirlz Exclusive,” even though she demanded their removal.
Tiffany Webb “should not be punished for something that happened years ago,” a panel member wrote.
Webb disclosed her former career when first hired. Yet she was investigated by the DOE three times — and twice spent a year in the “rubber room” — while officials probed the photos.
Each time, she was cleared to return to work with students.
She received nothing but satisfactory ratings, and was respected at Murry Bergtraum, where she juggled a caseload of 540 students.
But the ax fell after ex-principal Andrea Lewis claimed that a student showed her photos of a scantily clad Webb.
Last Dec. 23, days before Webb was to get tenure as an $84,200-a-year guidance counselor, she was dismissed for “conduct unbecoming” a DOE employee.
“The inappropriate photos were accessible to impressionable adolescents,” a three-member chancellor’s committee ruled by 2-1. “That behavior has a potentially adverse influence on her ability to counsel students and be regarded as a role model.”
The dissenting member argued, “Her professional work as a guidance counselor has been outstanding, and she should not be punished for something that happened years ago.”
Webb — who has changed her name and taken a teaching job in New Jersey — is now suing the DOE in Brooklyn Supreme Court, charging wrongful termination, sex discrimination and violation of First Amendment rights. She seeks reinstatement, back pay and punitive damages.
“I am a dedicated professional and enjoyed being a guidance counselor,” she told The Post. “I did my job well, and my students and parents thought very highly of me. I would love to return to the DOE and resume the career I have chosen to help and guide students.”
Her lawyer, employment specialist Stewart Karlin, said all Webb’s photos on the Internet are unauthorized and altered, some showing her face with a different body.
“She had no control over it,” said Karlin, calling her termination “unconscionable.”