Her right to jailbait

How dare you deny her her rights?

A Queens teacher fired for bedding a 17-year-old male model is suing to win her job back, saying she had no idea her lover boy was enrolled in high school during their affair.
Gina Salamino, 37, contends her job as a tenured second-grade teacher at Public School 121 should have been spared because Joshua Walter was so busy catwalking he never attended a single class during the 2006-07 school year.
“They have no case,” Salamino angrily told the Daily News. “There is no improper relationship.”
Salamino maintains in Manhattan Supreme Court documents that it’s “complete fiction” and “ludicrous” for the Department of Education to insist the globetrotting runway star was a “student” when he hooked up with the teacher, who was then 34.

Exactly how is Ms. Salamino different from those idiots who end up caught on camera with Chris Hansen? I am unfamiliar with the New York Department of Education’s rules, but I’m reasonably sure that the taxpayers of New York would frown on any teacher dating a 17-year-old. The taxpayers be damned, of course, when it comes to a tenured teacher in the union-controlled public school system.

Be assured that if Ms. Salamino should win her suit, others will learn from her example. Hey, if all that’s preventing an affair between a teacher and a teenager is the teenager’s status as a student, then all the teenager needs to do is drop out of school, and it’s perfectly legal.

I am no prude, but this disturbing effort to blur the legal distinctions about underage sex — involving a professional educator, no less — is an entirely logical extension of the demand for unrestricted sexual freedom. Unless you’re willing to say “anything goes” without regard for the consequences, then at some point the line must be drawn, and the line ought to be clear enough that everyone knows where it is.

Two unrelated incidents earlier this year called to my attention how confused our society has become in this regard:

Fifteen-year-old Disney “Hannah Montana” franchise starlet Miley Cyrus poses in her panties, shows her bra, and now poses topless in Vanity Fair — and yet no legal action is threatened? Meanwhile, in Texas, the mere suspicion that teenagers are getting married causes a SWAT raid and state officials take 416 children away from their parents.
Maybe if the polygamous cult would make some Disney movies, they could get away with it. Otherwise, Texas officials might fear those fundamentalist kids are being deprived of an underwear-flashing, topless-posing normal adolescence like Miley’s.

Notice how the pop-culture sexualization of adolescents plays a role here, just as with the Miley Cyrus photos. Because this New York boy was modeling for Hugo Boss as a teenager, he is therefore legally “fair game,” according to Ms. Salamino and her lawyers. The popular culture is offering up teenagers as sex objects and, therefore, some people feel entitled to act on these cultural messages. And yet what is winked at when it involves a TV starlet or a fashion model is enough to land others in prison.

But who are we to judge? After all, didn’t the Supreme Court tell us that “individual decisions concerning the intimacies of physical relationships . . . are a form of ‘liberty’ protected by due process”? Ms. Salamino can ride her teenage lover like a pogo stick and that’s her constitutional right.

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