Teacher Marie Jarry Sues School Over Howard Stern Bikini Controversy

Marie Jarry, the former second-grade teacher who resigned after making an appearance in a bikini on the “Howard Stern Show,” is suing Southington, Connecticut school officials as well as her union. She has good reason to complain about being fired for an appearance in a swimsuit on a television program on her own time. The increasing enforcement of after-hours codes of conduct by employers should be viewed as a cause of alarm for a society that prides itself on freedom of association and speech.

The greatest problem for Jarry is her resignation in May for her position as a second-grade teacher at Thalberg Elementary School in Southington. This is not the first time a teacher has resigned under pressure and then regretted the decision, click here.

She had taken sick leave days to appear (and ultimately win $5,000) on the show’s “Ugliest Dude, Hottest Wife” contest.

In her federal filing, she is demanding reinstatement and back pay. For the story, click here.

and here.

Parents appear to believe that their teachers must meet purity standards in their private lives to teach their children. Parent Dean LaPoint was aghast: “I can’t believe she would go on TV and do that when she is a second-grade teacher. It just doesn’t make sense.” Really, Dean, what doesn’t make sense to me is that you believe that you believe that a teacher cannot live her life according to her own values.

Marie did not sexual references on the video, but this was far from the classroom. A parent Liz Francis almost had it right: “They work hard during the school day and what they do on their own time is their business . . . ” Then she veered off track into morals enforcement ” . . . but because of the nature of the Howard Stern show, the board was concerned.” Here’s an idea, don’t watch. I have never actually seen one of Stern’s shows. I saw about two minutes once and found it juvenile and idiotic.

She is only the latest. Recently, Florida teacher Tiffany Shepard lost her job because of a part-time bikini job on a charter boat, click here.

Of course, the good people Florida and Connecticut are merely amateurs at this morality policing. Iran has a whole department dedicated to arresting women who drink coffee with males or engage in immoral conduct, click here

The inclusion of the union as a defendant is an interesting element. It would appear that the union, usually very protective over teachers, may have been less than supportive in this case. I do not know why. This seems to me to be a serious abridgment of individual rights of a teacher. If there is some complaint over the use of sick leave, I doubt seriously that the usual punishment is a forced resignation. Indeed, it appears a rule universally honored in the breach.

For the original full story and video, click here

20 thoughts on “Teacher Marie Jarry Sues School Over Howard Stern Bikini Controversy”

  1. If a mother , of one of the school’s students , wears a bikini in public , should she lose her job as the mother of her child ? Why do married women wear bikinis ? Do they want men , other than their husbands , to see their bodies ? Is this okay or not okay ? If a woman wears a low-cut shirt or dress , why would she blame a man , if he makes a comment about her appearance ? Should people , who live in “glass houses” , throw stones ?

  2. I think everyone missed it. There’s a separate morality for Howard Stern. The prudes just love to hate him and everyone goes along with it, including his listeners and viewers because they’re afraid to admit they are listeners.

  3. Russ,

    I would much rather have someone who’s a o.k. teacher with bad taste in entertainment in charge of my kid then someone with great taste that can’t teach. Further more what does it say about us that one of the more important professions in our society is payed so low that they need to enter this sort of contests?

  4. I think that the “morals police”, and for that matter the religious Right, have the same values as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda…. The only difference is the degree to which they feel they can assert their influence. This story is another example of their influence on government and personal freedoms.

  5. Russ,

    Where do you draw the line then? Can she appear in a bikini at a public park (pool)? At a health club? No wait, nobody could reasonably object to either of those since it’s clearly appropriate for her to be there and to wear a bikini at those locations.

    What about a legitimate beauty contest? How about a charitable one, with the benefits going to the school? No wait, contestants have traditionally appeared in bathing suits in these contests. We can argue that they’re stupid, but I suspect few people would argue that a public school should be able to fire a teacher for participating. (Remember that this -is- a public school, not a private school associated with a church or religious organization.)

    Maybe it’s something else, but the same point remains the same. You’re saying you can draw a line -somewhere-, and more importantly that it’s somewhere this side of illegal so it’s a matter of taste more than anything else. All we’re saying is that we find the idea of a Morals and Purity employment police at a public institution far more scary than the occasional behavior that will offend some people.

  6. Russ wrote:
    A second grade teacher goes on the Howard Stern show in a bikini and you two percenters DEFEND HER? I would guess none of you ever bothered to have kids since you are too consumed with YOURSELVES.

    Wrong again, as usual, at least in my case. One child, long past the second grade stage. Not that it matters. I don’t know of any second graders who would watch Howard Stern’s show, and I certainly don’t either. Any more ridiculous comments to make or did you make your quota for today?

  7. Russ,
    I have four adult children and one grandchild on the way and I would not have any problem with their 2nd grade teacher being seen in a bikini. Unless of course she was wearing the bikini to school! I had thought that I had heard everything from you neocon wannabees, but accusing us of being consumed with ourselves just because we believe in the Constitution is a new one. Russ, Martha, etc, you guys need to get arrested once when you have done nothing and see how interested you are in your constitutional rights. Or in the case of this teacher, you need to lose a job over a non-work related issue and you may become “too consumed with yourselves”. Sorry about not putting yourselves in all caps. I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

  8. A second grade teacher goes on the Howard Stern show in a bikini and you two percenters DEFEND HER? I would guess none of you ever bothered to have kids since you are too consumed with YOURSELVES.

  9. Gino,
    Just because some here do not agree with your concern that we are blaming Bush for too many bad things, that is no reason to “give up”. Stay and battle it out. At least the 2 percenters here are amiable. Hang in there.

  10. Don’t forget the context — schools are also stepping into the students’ private lives. Even adult students. (Many HS seniors are 18.)

    BTW I’m sure they could dredge up a ‘professionalism’ claim. The second graders won’t watch the show, or even understand why it would be offensive, but their dad might. He might then have a problem taking the teacher seriously when she tells him that the kid is having trouble and needs special attention.

    People looking for an excuse will probably find this one compelling. I wonder where you could ever possibly draw the line. E.g., what if you see a teacher in the grocery store making a bad choice? Could you ever trust the teacher’s nutritional advice afterwards?

  11. Jill,

    I’m not trying to enforce a purity test or anything, but do you have any idea, any clue, how it sounds when every unrelated blog post results in a Bush regime comment?

    What do you think about what happened to the teacher? What do you think about her lawsuit against the school system and its administrators? Do you think it has any merit? How would your opinion differ if the job was in the private sector in an at-will state?

    I give up …


  12. rafflaw,

    You’re an incorrigible, dimwit, 2 or 1 percenter! CURSE you for making logical connections between related events!


  13. Rafflaw,

    Hey, I’m a libertarian. Live and let live, I say. I don’t think the teacher should lose her job for the bikini/Stern thing. I was bitching about the Bush regime comment. It seems like every post on this blog elicits a Bush comment, no matter how remote (or completely imaginary) the connection. But I’m beating a dead horse on that, and fighting a losing battle. I think I’ll give it up if I can. You’re an incorrigible bunch.


  14. Gino,
    I apologize for forgetting a question mark after one of my sentences. Just the thought of a teacher in a bikini has me all confused!

  15. Gino.
    I do all of this for fun, but I am serious. However, I did notice that I forgot the words “of the” in that sentence. Gino, does your job have a restriction on what you can or cannot do when you are off work? Why should the teacher in this situation. Can the school district fire her or discipline her if she wears the bikini at a local beach and some of the kids actually see her skin??? Once again, I am serious that this is another example of the eroding of the separation of church and state under the Bush regime.

  16. I completely agree that this “morality policing” of school boards over the off-time of teachers has gotten completely out of hand. As you said, why would they have to WATCH that idiotic Howard Stern program in the first place? I doubt any second grader watches it either, so why a parent of a second grader would care whether a teacher appears in a bikini when she’s NOT working is beyond me.

  17. “In my opinion, it is part of the eroding separation of church and state under the Bush regime.”

    Ok, now you’re just doing it for fun, right?

  18. Prof. Turley,
    I agree that these “moral police” policies are getting out of hand. In my opinion, it is part of the eroding separation of church and state under the Bush regime. I represented a teacher some years ago who lost his/her job due to an arrest on a anti-gay sex statute. It was sad and he/she was a good teacher.

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