2 May 2011

Teacher deregistered for Penthouse appearance

6:37 pm on 2 May 2011

A teacher has been deregistered for posing nude in Penthouse magazine, and bringing the profession into disrepute.

Complaints were laid against Rachel Whitwell over photographs in the magazine's January 2010 edition, followed by articles including photos in which she was shown draped over a school desk.

She had previously been employed as a teacher at an upper North Island primary school.

The Teachers' Disciplinary Tribunal has now informed her she will be formally censured, deregistered, and ordered to pay costs.

Ms Whitwell argued that Penthouse is a lawful publication, that she has done nothing illegal, and cited the Bill of Rights and the right to freedom of expression in her defence.

The Tribunal, by a majority, found her involvement in pornographic activity reflected badly on her fitness to be a teacher, and the profession as a whole.

Two of the five-person tribunal disagreed with the finding, noting the division of opinion reflected the difficult nature of the case.

Speaking on Checkpoint after the decision, Ms Whitwell said she gave up teaching 18 months ago to pursue a modelling career and cannot understand the media attention she got.

She intends to appeal the decision.