Trump supporting teacher, Chelsy Zelasko launches wrongful termination lawsuit after being fired over semi nude photo shoot. Constitutional rights vs being a role model.
A Trump supporter who posed semi-nude with American flags and guns claims having been fired from her job as a private school teacher over her political beliefs.
Chelsy Ann Zelasko filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Grove School in Madison, Connecticut, saying she lost her teaching job after parents found out about the racy photoshoot and complained, WTNH News 8 reported.
‘I don’t feel like they should have let me go or fired me because of my political beliefs and what I believe in,’ Zelasko said. ‘I would never, ever bring that into a classroom or nor would it affect my teaching skills at all.’
According to Zelasko, the shoot with Better Than The Weekend, which took place a few weeks before the 2016 election, was meant to encourage others to get out and vote.
The website features six photos of the 27-year-old in the buff, some with her draped in the American flag, others with her holding assault rifles, and an interview in which she voices support for Trump.
‘He’s going to create jobs for the middle, working class by eliminating the ability to outsource jobs to other countries,’ she said. ‘He’s going to protect the Second Amendment. He’s going to protect my right to keep automatic weapons.’
Chelsy Zelasko fired:
Zelasko, a registered Democrat, was hired as an art teacher and counselor at the boarding school in February, according to her lawsuit filed earlier this month.
But in April, Peter Chorney, the school’s executive director, told her the article had come to light and that it would be in her ‘best interests to resign from Grove School on account of the content of the article,’ the suit said.
Except Zelasko wasn’t willing to resign, with the woman saying she was within her rights to exercise her constitutional rights. But that’s not the way school saw it.
Told Chorney according to the complaint, ‘The issue is about role-modeling for emotionally fragile kids and holding oneself to a higher standard as an educator. Your credibility is now a major concern’.
She was fired days later.
A matter of freedom of expression or being a role model for students?
‘We did not know about these postings when you were hired, so seeing and reading them came as quite a shock. We asked you to resign but you refused,’ Chorney wrote in the April 5 termination letter, according to the suit cited by the nypost.
‘Although you have been a capable teacher so far, you can no longer serve that role for us … [W]e do not believe you can serve as a role model for these adolescents, and as a school with a public presence and a community identity, The Grove School cannot allow itself to be associated with this kind of behavior,” the letter continued. “We ask that you not contact our students or their families and that you not come on our property without consent.’
Zelasko’s attorney Matthew Paradisi maintains his client had a “fundamental constitutional right’ to express her beliefs.
‘[Art] is a median or a subject that is about free expression, and to say that someone who exercises their right to freedom of expression can’t be a role model to teach a subject about free expression is more than a bit ironic,’ he said.
But is Zelasko’s firing really about her rights to exercise her freedom of speech or more to do with the school’s confidence that their hired employee can continue to serve as a role model to adolescent students? Which is to suggest, the educator would have still been let go even if she had done a ‘raunchy’ shoot celebrating then Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Zelasko is seeking more than $15,000 in damages for lost wages, emotional distress and attorney’s fees.