Trump supporter fired from teaching job over steamy photos with flag sues school for wrongful termination
Chelsy Zelasko, 27, says she lost her job for her political beliefs after parents found out about the racy photoshoot and complained to school officials
A Trump supporter has claimed she was fired from her job as a private school teacher after she posed semi-nude with American flag and guns for a photoshoot during the 2016 elections.
Chelsy Zelasko, 27, said she lost her job for her political beliefs after parents found out about the racy photoshoot and complained to school officials.
She has now filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Grove School in Connecticut, the New York Post reports.
“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 told WTNH News 8. “I would never ever bring that into a classroom or nor would it affect my teaching skills at all.”
The embattled teacher said her photoshoot with website Better Than The Weekend was meant to encourage others to get out and vote.
The shoot, which took place a couple of weeks before the 2016 election, consists of six photos of the 27-year-old semi-naked, draped in stars and stripes, and posing with assault rifles. The website also features an interview in which she voices her support for the future president.
“He’s going to create jobs for the middle, working class by eliminating the ability to outsource jobs to other countries,” Zelasko said. “He’s going to protect the Second Amendment. He’s going to protect my right to keep automatic weapons.”
According to the lawsuit filed earlier this month, she is a registered Democrat and was hired by the boarding school in Madison in February this year as an art teacher and counselor.
A couple of months later, in April, the school's executive director Peter Chorney informed her that the article had come to the fore and that it would be best for her "to resign from Grove School on account of the content of the article,” the lawsuit stated.
However, Zelasko fought back, saying she had a constitutional right to do the shoot.
In response, Chorney told her "the issue is about role-modeling for emotionally fragile kids and holding oneself to a higher standard as an educator", and that her "credibility is now a major concern."
The art teacher was fired from her job just days later.
“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 termination letter dated April 5, the suit states.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Matthew Paradisi, the attorney representing Zelasko, said his client had a "fundamental constitutional right" to express her political 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.
That said, Zelasko seeks to recover $15,000 in damages for lost wages, emotional distress, and legal fees.