A Utah school teacher who was threatened with termination after school administrators claimed her Instagram photos were “pornographic” will get to keep her job, People is reporting.
When she’s not in the classroom at North Sanpete Middle School in Mornoi, Utah, 37-year-old Mindi Jensen — a divorced mother of four — is either at the gym or participating in bodybuilding and modeling competitions. She took up weightlifting and body building six months ago, she says, after letting herself go and suffering depression following her divorce.
“I decided to join the gym and work on getting fit again, physically and mentally. I found I really enjoyed it and started dedicating myself to working out, one hour a day, six days a week. For the first time in a long time, I felt good about myself.”
Jensen has used her Instagram account — under the pseudonym “Min Gunderson” — to share pictures of herself in the gym, modeling in bikinis, or participating in bodybuilding and fitness competitions.
Even though she posts to Instagram under a pseudonym, the Utah’s teachers students were able to Google her name and find her bikini pics. That’s when parents started complaining.
“They told their parents and the parents then went to the principal about it. I was shocked when I was called into the office and told that my pictures were a problem. I was given three choices: I could make the posts private, take the pictures down or be fired.”
Moroni, Utah, lies in the heart of the Beehive State’s conservative, Mormon country. The town was founded by a Mormon bishop, and its name was taken from a prophet in the Book of Mormon.
Still, Jensen believes that if parents have a problem with their kids seeing pictures of her in bikinis on her Instagram account, it’s the parents’ job to monitor what their children do, not her job to modify her personal life to appease parents. As she tells KTVX (Salt Lake City).
“If you are not comfortable with seeing me in my fitness uniform on stage posing then take that away from your kid. Don’t take it away from me.”
School officials didn’t see it that way. Jensen says that every Monday, for a month, she was called into Principal O’Dee Hanson’s office to get a lecture about pictures she posted over the weekend.
“I thought, ‘Why are they getting on my case about this? Why do they keep going to my pages and looking for new pictures to complain about?’ It got so that I hated going to school on Monday because I knew I was going to get talked to about it.”
After getting sick of hearing incessant complaints and fearing she was going to be fired, Jensen, on the urging of a friend, took her story to a local TV station.
This week, the Utah school teacher learned that she will not lose her job over her Instagram pics. North Sanpete School District Sam Ray called a meeting with Jensen and her principal, and the three reached an agreement. The district “apologized for any misunderstandings” and will be instructing students and parents on appropriate internet use.
On social media, the Utah schoolteacher is finding that she has plenty of supporters. On KTVX’s Facebook post about Jensen’s story, the overwhelming majority of comments are supportive of Jensen and believe the school overreacted. Only a small majority believe she’s in the wrong.
“She certainly should make her social media profile private from her students… She has a responsibility to a positive role model for all her students.”
Do you believe the Utah teacher was wrong to post Instagram photos of herself in a bikini, even under an alias? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Instagram]