This just in: Teachers have lives outside of school. Shocking, but true. In a recent report, it was found that 100 percent of teachers and other members of school staff do such things as eat, engage in hobbies and even socialize off school grounds. Students and parents of students are still getting used to this idea, despite the fact that it’s been happening since the invention of, well, schools.
Obviously there’s a bit of hyperbole being used here, but it’s kind of surprising that Utah teacher Mindi Jensen had to fight to keep her bodybuilding photos on Instagram. Even more surprising, though? The fact that some of her students’ parents were calling the pictures “pornographic.” Seriously?
Jensen, who teaches at North Sanpete Middle School, was in hot water after a student’s parent found her Instagram page. Jensen’s page, which is under the alias “minscakes,” features photos of her four children as well as herself strutting her stuff in a bikini in various fitness competitions. After the parent saw the photos, they went to the school district, complaining that Jensen’s fitness photos were “inappropriate” and “pornographic.” She was given three ultimatums: Set the page to private, quit or take the photos off Instagram altogether. Jensen went with the first option.
After some thought, though, Jensen decided, “You know what? No.” Her pictures are too important.
Jensen, who’s a single mom, set her photos back to public. She told local news stations that she got into fitness as a way to deal with the depression she was experiencing after a breakup, and since she’s started posting her photos, she’s been motivating others to do the same. “Why am I taking this picture off? I get comments and messages that it’s inspirational to them and these women like my story,” Jensen said. “If I put it to private, it’s not going to reach these people that might need and understand me.” She added: “If you are not comfortable with seeing me in my fitness uniform onstage posing, then take that away from your kid. Don’t take it away from me.”
Her risk paid off. The school board recently informed her that her job was no longer on the line, regardless of what her Instagram account is set to. Good call.
While some of Jensen’s photos — which, yes, feature her in a bikini — may not be everyone’s cup of tea, ultimately she’s not harming anyone. In fact, if you read some of her comments, she’s doing just the opposite. Also, her photos are far from pornographic. It’s hard to understand how a student’s parent would take issue with her Instagram photos to the point of going to the school board. Is this really affecting them or their child? It’s a woman in a bikini. Yes, teachers actually wear bikinis!
Before social media made its invasive way onto the scene, eliminating any and all traces of a private life, teachers did things just like this. They participated in fitness competitions, wore skimpy clothes, went to bars, cursed. It just wasn’t online. The fact that things like this — within reason, obviously — are online shouldn’t make much of a difference. Of course, anyone with a job wants to use some level of discretion when putting photos up online, but they still have every right to have a life. As long as what teachers are doing isn’t hurting anyone and isn’t offensive — which these photos really aren’t — people should stop getting so worked up. If Jensen is a good teacher, it seems ridiculous to report her to the school board for wearing a bathing suit.
As parents, we can’t control everything that goes on in or pertaining to our kids’ schools. But we can teach our children what’s right and what’s wrong; when to speak up and when to let things go; and, of course, that teachers have lives outside of school. Yes, it really is true.