Patrice “Tricey” Brown gained viral fame for a series of Instagram pictures that earned her the moniker of “sexiest teacher,” but now they may have also earned Brown some trouble from the school district that employs her.
The fourth-grade teacher became an internet sensation this week after social media users got hold of some photos that she had posted on Instagram showing her posing in the classroom in a series of tight-fitting outfits and high heels. The pictures circulated online, garnering tens of thousands of shares and plenty of admiring comments.
While the classroom pictures weren’t particularly revealing — unlike some other photos on Brown’s page, like ones showing her on the beach — they still made Brown very popular and her pictures the subject of some controversy. Some commenters noted that she appeared to be dressed a bit too risque for fourth grade.
“She wouldn’t be teaching my child dressed like that … there’s a time and a place for everything and in the classroom is not it. Taking selfies in the middle of the classroom,” one person wrote.
Do you think Ms. Thicky Fine Teacher Bae dresses inappropriately for school? ???? pic.twitter.com/bD17oLj4Bd
— Bossip (@Bossip) September 12, 2016
Patrice “Tricey” Brown appeared to back away from the controversy this week. She purged her social media accounts, deleting most of the pictures taken inside the classroom, and posted a cryptic note abut the situation, a photo with the words “This too shall pass.”
Brown also spoke directly about the controversy, saying she believed people were making too much out of the photos.
“I just wish they would respect me and focus on the positive and what truly matters, which is educating the children of the future generations and providing and caring for them,” Brown told the Daily Dot (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
Now, Patrice Brown’s school district is taking notice. Atlanta Public Schools released a statement confirming that Brown does work in the district, but as a paraprofessional and not as a teacher. The district also noted that Brown had been counseled on her use of social media.
“She was given guidance regarding the APS Employee Dress Code of Ethics for educators, and she has been cooperative in addressing her presence on social media,” the APS said in a statement.
But even as the Instagram pictures continue to go viral and get attention online, others are stepping up to defend Patrice Brown. Many noted that her attire wasn’t all that racy, but that it appeared more tight-fitting because she is a black woman with a curvier figure.
— Wave Bari (@stackztootrill) September 12, 2016
black women w/ curvy bodies are immediately judged and sexualized for something they have no control over #teacherbae
— EMMA (@emmakretch) September 12, 2016
Blavity also stood up for Patrice Brown, noting that she was unfairly judged for her appearance, even when many of the pictures in question were tame.
“Women’s bodies are always sexualized, especially black women’s bodies. It’s one of those things we grow up fighting against at places like work or school. Our bodies are never ours to adorn as we please, for our own sense of satisfaction and being cute. Everything we do to our bodies is evaluated through a male gaze.“
Others noted that Brown’s photos showing off her figure were the ones gaining fame, not those showing her as a hard-working educator.
— NUFF$AID (@nuffsaidNY) September 12, 2016
The controversy surrounding Patrice “Tricey” Brown and her Instagram photos also falls on the more tame side of the controversy spectrum. In the weeks before her pictures set social media ablaze, another teacher was arrested on charges that she had sex with a student on a number of occasions. The teacher, Charlaina Lee Wilson, was allegedly caught after an explicit video she had filmed began circulating among students.
By comparison, the Instagram photos of Patrice “Tricey” Brown and the conversations that followed don’t rate as much of a controversy.
[Featured Image by Patrice Brown/Instagram]