Former teacher claims DISD fired her for past work in pornography

DALLAS TEACHER FIGHTS HER PAST

DALLAS – Resa Woodward doesn't want to be known for what she's done, but what she's been doing for more than a decade.

She found a passion and a profession in elementary education.

"I was nominated for teacher of the year 11 out of 15 of my teaching years," she said. 

She's spent the last four years teaching sixth-grade science at the Young Women's STEAM Academy at Balch Springs Middle School. She says Dallas ISD recognized her as a distinguished teacher the past two years. 

"This year I reached the top status…exemplary," she said.

Woodward is now 38 and established, but she's plagued by what happened when she was 19, newly married and broke. 

"Young, naïve, easily controlled," she said, describing herself at that time. "Very book smart, street stupid."

Woodward says her husband was physically and emotionally abusive, and one day, desperate for cash, he coerced her into pornography. 

"It was good money," she said. "So he started booking me for more shoots, and it happened for about a little over a year. 

Then she graduated college, and was done. 

"I said to him, 'I cannot do this anymore. I'm going to be a teacher, this is going to get me in trouble,'" said Woodward.

She later left her marriage, got her master’s degree, and pushed that part of her life far back in her brain. 

"It was always hanging over me somewhere in the distance but it all came and hit me in the face, that day," she said. 

That day was last March, when someone sent Woodard's stage name to the district. 

"They said somebody had submitted an anonymous tip," she said. "And I was told that it was OK, as long as it did not go public."

In November, she says someone posted about her past on Facebook. She was put on administrative leave, refused to quit, then says she was terminated by DISD.  She's now challenging that decision at the state level with the Texas Education Agency. DISD has said it cannot comment on personnel matters. 

"I want my girls to know that no matter what they do, they might make some poor life choices, but there's a way to come out of it," Woodard said. 

It's not a lesson she wanted to learn, or to teach, but she considers it her most important test. Fighting for what she is, not what she was.  

"The message the district is sending to me is you can't get past your past. You're going to be punished for it over and over," she said. "There's no way to rise, and that's not OK." 

 

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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