teacher fired after giving teens sex advice

Josephine Isernia, a New York State teacher with 22 years of experience under her belt, has been fired. Her offense? Allegedly having an explicit sexual conversation with two female students.

According to the town’s local paper, a school board report on the incident says,

“The two students came to Isernia's classroom after school when one needed clarification about an assignment. At one point, one of the students received a text message from her boyfriend and slammed her phone on a desk. Isernia began asking her what the problem was and the student reluctantly explained that her boyfriend was pressuring her to have sex or oral sex, the students said in the report. Isernia responded with some sexually explicit advice on the matter.”

One of the students went home and told her mother about the conversation. The distraught mother then contacted the school board, which investigated and eventually determined that what Isernia had said was so “vulgar, obscene and disgusting” that she needed to be fired–despite having no previous disciplinary problems, positive performance reviews, and over two decade’s worth of service.

So what was she accused of saying? Even the report isn’t totally clear, saying she uttered, “the following words, or words to the effect:”
“Is one of the problems that you are not spreading your legs [for your boyfriend]” and/or,
“Most boys want a head job”; and/or
“It isn’t so bad if you don’t swallow”; and/or
“Boys aren’t usually satisfied with a hand job”; and/or
“Is a boy asking to have sex—was it fellatio?”

On the other hand, it is also important to realize that these statements have been taken out of context. Were the girls asking specific questions or going to her with a problem they couldn’t discuss with their parents? That seems pretty likely. Isernia says she only used certain phrases after the girls themselves used them, a common practice in counseling to clarify what someone is saying and to make sure that everyone is on the same page. She disputes that the exchange went exactly as the girls described it.

Even if she did say exactly what the report suggests, it doesn’t seem as if this isolated conversation warrants her termination. Teachers walk a fine line everyday and it is a testament to a teacher’s strengths and connection to her students if they decide to confide in her. Making poor choices during one conversation should not mean the end of an educator’s career.

As a teacher, do you think Isernia's comments were enough to get her fired? How do you think your school would have handled the situation? Have you ever talked about sex with a teacher?

Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed
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  • shaelyn

    my music teacher is really good with all of our personal stuff. everyone in my class in 13 or 14 one girl has already lost her virginity and in an open discussion about sex one time, she told him. he was really accepting and didnt judge her at all. he’s really great to talk to and i fell (and i hink nearly everyone in my school does aswel) that if we ever had any problems we couldnt go to our parents, friends or anyone else about, he would be the one to go to.

  • katie

    somehow i don't see a teacher with 20+ years under her belt saying things like that to a student.


    even if she did, the girl's just being pissy because the teacher didn't tell her what she wanted to hear. that is extremely petty.

  • Woah ok , That teacher saying those things , yeah sure i mean its ok to give her advice but never knew a teacher would ever say such things to a girl the woman could have easily told her some other keen advice because that is some weird advice shes giving out there its sexually explict and it's a good thing that she is gone shes is rude .

  • luvli

    my skool would say whatever. idc. my coach told a girl don't wear a bra just let it all hang out and he hit girls butts. he's still here. my principal smokes and chews @ skool and the counsler fs up grades

  • hill

    no that is so pettie, that teacher shouldn't have been fired!

  • emilyinfini

    sammyjoshmoe- It IS important to have someone to go to with your questions about sex. Therapists and counselors in your community (at school, the community center, church, or at your local planned parenthood) would be a great resource. Otherwise the gURL book "Deal With It!" is a good source of advice. http://www.amazon.com/Deal-Whole-Approach-Your-Br
    Remember- keeping yourself safe is ALWAYS top priority! Being well-informed can help keep you healthy and safe.

  • Nikia

    Damn 1 of dem gurls got a big ass mouth poor teacher see dats wut u git 4 trying 2 help smh

  • tah lee ah

    well uhmsz i think that she shouldent of had gotten firedd.
    well i talked to one of my teachers about sex b4. nd i told my mother. like my moms talks to me about it and so does my teacher. only if your mature enough for that kind of stuff. buht idont think its a biggie.

  • anonymous

    this is all the students fault. if they didnt want to talk about sex with the teacher they could have stopped her. these girls are so stupid!!

  • Alisha Parker

    This is ridiculous, She was helping them out not trying to talk to them in a sexual way 😐

  • sammyjoshmoe

    what i wouldn't give to feel like there was someone i could trust to talk to about sex…
    where i go to school, teachers aren't really open to talking about personal (and definately not sexual) issues students might have.
    from what i see, these girls didn't have a clue how lucky they were to have someone to listen to and answer their questions.
    and by "turning their teacher in" they are just worsening the problems in the schools. teachers are afraid to talk, and shouldn't have to be. "sex" isn't a dirty word. its a part of life and people just need to get over it.
    as for whether or not what was said was inappropriate, its hard to say. the given quotes are unclear and out of context….

  • Karin

    She was just giving these girls some advise. By the way, the girls are the ones who started the conversation. I don't think the teacher had to be fired just because of this little thing.

  • Tianny

    wow…that is so dumb…the teacher was simply qivinq advice to the two qirls..plus what did the two qirls say..or ask..plus mii teacher qave me advice on sex before yew dont see me qoinq to tell mommy i took it as somethinq i e=would always remember..and to think of..the board of ed probably tried to solve the problem fast by firinq her which is so suckky..