A Texas middle school teacher is fighting to keep her job after word spread that she was an adult film actress in at least 16 productions more than a decade ago.
Resa Woodward, 38, taught sixth grade science at Young Women’s Science Technology Engineering and Math Academy at Balch Springs Middle School in Dallas and was placed on administrative leave in November when the news of her past broke, the Daily Mail reported.
Woodward said she was forced into pornography more than 16 years ago and has since earned a master’s degree and become a teacher.
She worked as an adult film actress under the name Robyn Foster and appeared in 16 films between 2001 and 2004.
Some films that were compilations of her past performances were released as recently as 2013.
Woodward claims that her involvement in pornography was “not of her own choosing” and that an older man she was living with at the time forced her into it during a time of financial hardship for her.
She was able to escape from that situation and decided to pursue a career in education, a profession she worked in for 15 years until the Dallas Independent School District received an anonymous tip regarding her past on March 10.
An investigation into the incident determined that “Woodward’s past participation in pornography does not in itself constitute a policy violation,” according to records obtained by the Dallas Morning News.
Woodward said the district allowed her to continue teaching as long as her past remained private.
Months later, Woodward, an active member of the Libertarian Party of Texas, shared her experience: she called the police on a drunk driver on Facebook when a Libertarian man in another state who disagreed with her views on police made her past public on social media.
When Woodward alerted the district, she said she was placed on administrative leave and that the district was pursuing termination “because it became public.”
Woodward, who says she has received merit pay increases at the school for the last two years, is worried about what message her termination would send to her students.
“I taught in an all-girls STEAM academy that was all about empowerment for women,” Woodward said Tuesday. “The sad thing is that if these girls find out that I’m being punished for something that I did nearly 20 years ago and had no control of and fought to get out of, well, what does that say about empowerment?”
Woodward is still on administrative leave and filed an appeal with the Texas Education Agency, but officials say they would not pursue the request because it was filed incorrectly.