Stunned, she watched as he turned the computer screen towards her. Her jaw dropped, her cheeks flushed bright red. “How do you have that?”, she choked.
Embarrassment and shame overwhelmed her. Now, she felt nauseous. This was going to destroy her professional career. How long were her students planning this behind her back? How long did they know?
It started like any other day for university professor, Amanda West. She popped some coffee in her takeaway mug and made her way to begin another day of teaching.
Her speciality was history, 20th-century history to be exact. She was young for a university history professor. And with her youth came her progressive way of thinking, and teaching!
Ms.West loved to share controversial opinions. She was an energetic teacher and decided that the best way to keep the kids engaged in her lectures was to constantly challenge their perspectives and push their buttons.
Little did she know that this teaching method was about to backfire on her, horribly.
For a week now, Ms.West had been teaching her class about the true history of Thanksgiving. She wanted to “decolonize thanksgiving” and teach her defiant students a lesson or two in the process.
Nathan, one student in particular wasn’t accepting her opinion on the topic. He really didn’t see the harm in celebrating the American holiday and confronted her.
Ms.West had also posted about this on her social media accounts which had since gone viral. Almost all of her students had seen her post along with its hashtag #NationalDayOfMourning. Some agreed, and some didin’t. Nathan didn’t.
He explained how the meaning of Thanksgiving has changed and now, it signifies a time of togetherness, gratitude and compassion. He told her to let go of the past. Now, she was enraged.
She scolded him for romanticising the holiday and reminded him of how ignorant he is of its origins. He debated with her but she had more historic facts at her disposal. In the end, she proved her point and embarrassed him.
The entire classroom was listening to their heated debate. With each scorn, Nathan felt ridiculed. Some students came to his defense, others didn’t. It was a divided classroom, and the start of a revenge plan.
Ms.West was a passionate woman, who really did care about her students but she cared about justice and history more. She wanted to teach the younger generation the past that she wasn’t taught.
Her desire for change resulted in her coming across as too passionate. She didn’t take stubborn opinions lightly. But neither did her students and they’d just about had enough of Ms.West’s belittling lessons!
The next day, Ms.West got a call from the Principal’s office. His voice was upset and stern as he asked her immediately.
Confused, Ms.West excused herself from another class and made her way to his office. She reflected on yesterday’s lesson and wondered if Nathan or another student complained. That happened sometimes. But today, something much worse awaited her.
As she approached the principal’s office, her mind raced with potential issues and outcomes. But nothing she imagined was remotely close to what the real problem was.
She greeted the troubled-looking principal and took a seat. Eager to resolve the issue, she asked him what the problem was. He took a seat and told her everything.
Her jaw dropped as he turned the computer screen around. Her cheeks flushed bright red. She didn’t know where to look. Shocked, she asked, “How do you have that?”.
She listened as he speculated that some of her students had hacked into her personal online history and found it. It had been circulating throughout the college for an entire day before he heard about it.
It was an image of her past that was never meant to see the light of day. She didn’t know how to talk her way out of this one but just as she began to try, the principal stopped her.
The college’s rules were strict. She had breached their code of conduct. There was no going back from this. He terminated her contract and forced her to resign. What was the image? Who did this?
The principal turned his computer screen to reveal a picture of Ms.West topless. She had taken a flirtatious selfie and sent it to her boyfriend at the time.
She had kept the photo by accident in her online history which had left it open for use by hackers. Ms.West was devastated after the initial shock, but then her reaction turned to anger. Were they right to fire her?
Ms.West had a feeling Nathan and his friends were responsible for this but of course, she could never prove it and the university had already let her go. She knew they weren’t interested in taking her side.
With no where else to turn, she shared her story online.
She was met with a divided response but the majority seemed to agree that how the university dealt with this situation was entirely unfair.
One comment on her post also questioned how the university could let a student get away with this kind of despicable behavior. Other users agreed that whoever did this should face repercussions and strongly advised her to sue the university.
Ms.West took their advise and is now suing the university to be rehired in her previous position. After being encouraged by her online sommunity, she now realizes that a woman’s body is nothing to be ashamed of.
She regrets how embarrassed and ashamed she felt over an image that was publicised without her consent. In her opinion, the one’s who should be ashamed and embarrassed are the culprits and university for their handling of this situation. Do you agree?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.