PORT ST. LUCIE, FL -- Tiffany Shepherd says, last week, she was abruptly fired from her job teaching at Port St. Lucie High School.
"They would not tell me why. I asked the straight out if it was because of my part-time job."
The biology teacher had recently begun working part-time with 'Smokin Em' Charters, a fishing boat that's been in the news before. They offer excursions with topless and bikini clad female mates.
Shepherd contends fishing is her passion and would do it in a bikini anyway. She says she did nothing wrong to justify losing her job.
"I'm a biologist. I have fished all my life. To fish and get paid, and make as much money in two days as i make in a week teaching, it was just an excellent opportunity and i would have been a fool to pass it up," said Shepherd.
The owners of the fishing charter are standing behind Shepherd, and plan to have their attorney look into her situation.
"The same people that fired her are women that are out there wearing bikinis in front of their children to swim in their pool, so what's wrong with her wearing a bikini to work on a boat?", said Kathi Coombes, owner of the charter company.
But in a statement, a St. Lucie County school district spokesperson says Shepherd was not fired for her part-time job, but for her attendance."Ms. Shepherd was released from her teaching position due to the amount of absences (30 so far this year) and had already received two written reprimands for the absences. She was also released from a previous teaching position for the same reason. The release this year was before knowledge of the outside employment was known by the district." -- Janice Karst, St. Lucie County School District Communications Director.
Copyright 2008 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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