A Utah teacher is fighting back against the administration of the middle school where she teaches after she was told to take down or hide bikini photos and videos of herself on Facebook — or face being fired. According to Mindi Jensen, she’s done nothing wrong and if complaining parents find her images offensive for their children’s sake, then perhaps the parents should police their children and leave her alone.
Yahoo Parenting reported October 22 that 37-year-old Mindi Jensen, a teacher at North Sanpete Middle School in Moroni, Utah, was given an ultimatum after parents began complaining about her bikini-clad images that their children were accessing online via Facebook (all posted under pseudonyms). She was told she had a choice: Remove the images, hide them for private viewing only, or lose her job. But Jensen was having none of that.
“These kids found it, and the parents were appalled by the pictures — they called it immodest,” Jensen told KTVX in Salt Lake City. “They called it pornographic. They called the pictures inappropriate, and these are my fitness and show pictures in my sport, in my uniform in my bodybuilding sport.”
In fact, the complaints began after Mindi Jensen posted a video of herself competing in a fitness model show. The video appeared on the Facebook page of “Mins Cakes,” one of the pseudonym’s used by Jensen. “I know it’s overload of me in a bikini BUT I’m a 37 year old divorced, single mom of four,” she wrote, “and I’ve NEVER been anything but skinny and weak”
Jensen had begun bodybuilding to help combat depression and, as her workouts started producing visible results, started posting photos of the progress she was making and the transformation her body was undergoing. She told KSTU in Salt Lake City that some had found her images “inspirational” and had said so in comments and messages. “Women like my story and they’re following my story,” she said, “and if I put it to private, then it’s not going to reach these people that might need and understand me.”
Besides, she asked KTVX, “Why are my rights being taken away and not the child’s right? It’s between the parent and the child. Put restrictions on your children. If you are not comfortable with seeing me in my fitness uniform on stage posing, then take that away from your kid. Don’t take it away from me.”
Does Jensen have a point or do the parents have a legitimate complaint? And how does a school deal with such matters? Well, usually situations such as these are resolved without an ultimatum. And although the teacher involved certainly has a right to a life outside of the classroom and is entitled to freedom of expression under the First Amendment, they can be fired or forced to resign due to unbecoming conduct, moral turpitude, immorality, and/or various interpretations of those types of clauses. For example, Florida teacher Olivia Sprauer was asked to resign in 2013 when racy bikini photos from her side modeling career came to the attention of the principal of the high school where she taught.
But Mindi Jensen’s story has a much happier ending. After she stood her ground, the school relented, letting her keep her job and even apologizing, she said. And, she told KTVX, they were offering a course for adults in supervising children’s internet usage.