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Teacher struck off over Penthouse shoot

03 may 2011, 18:27
A New Zealand primary school teacher who posed nude in Penthouse magazine has been deregistered "for bringing the profession into disrepute", AFP reports.

Rachel Whitwell appeared in the January 2010 issue of Penthouse draped over a schooldesk, alongside a story that quoted her saying: "I am submissive in the bedroom because during the day I have to be in control in the classroom".

The New Zealand Teachers' Council's disciplinary tribunal found the 29-year-old's actions amounted to serious misconduct and revoked her teaching credentials, finding her actions had damaged the profession's reputation.

"It was also noted that the majority of the teaching profession are women, who may find the respondent’s activity and close connection to the teaching profession particularly distasteful," the tribunal said.

In a submission in her defence, Whitwell said she had left her job at an Auckland primary school shortly before the photoshoot to pursue a career in modelling.

She said that as she was not employed by the school at the time of the photoshoot, she should not be struck off the teachers' register for appearing in a magazine that was legally available throughout New Zealand.

"Even if I was teaching, I do not believe that you or the NZTC has any right to impose Victorian moral opinions on my life outside the classroom," she said.

Whitwell blamed Penthouse for highlighting the fact that she was a teacher in the magazine, saying she had no control over how she was portrayed and the quotes attributed to her had been fabricated.

"I take on a lot of different modelling assignments, this was one of them. I'm not the editor of that magazine, I didn't decide to put that content in," she told Radio New Zealand on Tuesday.

Whitwell, who is still concentrating on her modelling career, said she planned to appeal the ban so she could eventually return to the classroom.

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