Teacher 'shocked and gutted' after nude pics outrage
A New Zealand primary school teacher who appeared naked on Australian Penthouse's website is "shocked and gutted" by the news she is being investigated by the New Zealand Teachers Council, her boyfriend says.
Rachel Whitwell is featured in six saucy photos, including two totally nude shots and two topless poses, on australianpenthouse.com.au.
The 27-year-old boasts of what she does for a living and that she is from New Zealand in the "New Aussie Babes" section.
News the country's teachers council was launching an investigation into Ms Whitwell's conduct broke yesterday in the Sunday News.
Her boyfriend, pornographer Steve Crow, said today Ms Whitwell was surprised and saddened by the uproar.
"She's really surprised it's caused so much grief," Mr Crow said.
"The photos are pretty innocuous.
"She's shocked and gutted."
Ms Whitwell had asked Australian Penthouse to take down the photos, he said.
The shots, filed under the nickname Lexy, are accompanied by a short description.
"I am a 26-year-old single schoolteacher from New Zealand that would love to get into modelling," Ms Whitwell is quoted as saying.
"I've written erotic stories for an R-rated magazine and run my own pole-dancing studio."
Mr Crow said, as far as he was aware, the New Zealand Teachers Council had not yet contacted Ms Whitwell.
Council director Peter Lind told Sunday News the area between public and private was always grey.
"... But where they intersect we investigate," Mr Lind said.
"When a teacher is in the public arena we must say that it does impact on their ability to do their job."
Teachers council records confirm Whitwell is registered to teach until September 2011.
She taught at Yendarra School in Otara, south Auckland, until a year ago when she left to spend time with her young daughter.
She plans to return to teaching once her child is older.
Ms Whitwell told Sunday News the naked images did not change the fact she was a good teacher.
"People will vouch I'm a really good teacher," she said.
"My ability to teach and have good relationships with students is not affected."
She was surprised at the controversy. "I didn't think that anyone from New Zealand would see them," she added.
New Zealand Educational Institute president Frances Morton wanted Whitwell's photographic appearance investigated by authorities.
"There is enough around this for the teachers council to have a look and come to a reasoned and principled decision," Morton said.
"This should never, ever get into a school and probably wouldn't.
"But you need to look at how it would affect her teaching as it is something outside of the classroom."
Families First's Bob McCoskrie said the images were "not a good look". "Teachers are role models and having a teacher linked with Penthouse is taking things too far," McCoskrie said.
"This is something the teachers council should be having a very hard look at."
Last year, Sydney teacher Lynne Tziolas, 24, was sacked for appearing nude with her husband in Cleo magazine alongside an article headed, "Buck naked couples talk about their sex lives".
- with Sunday News
Sydney Morning Herald