NYC Parents Furious Petro's Past Slipped Through CracksBy Tony Aiello

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — She went from stripper to prostitute to teacher. And then she got job security — in the form of tenure.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday it’s one more reason to end the system that basically gives teachers lifetime job security.

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Reassigned to a non-teaching job, 30-year-old Melissa Petro stayed silent as she headed for the subway Wednesday morning.

But at PS 70 in the Claremont section of the Bronx, there were a lot of people talking.

“If they would’ve searched and done the proper background check on her, they would have found it,” parent Cristal Carambot said.

“They don’t really care who they bring in the school!” another parent added.

Petro long has admitted she once worked as a stripper. But three weeks ago, days after getting job protection in the form of tenure, she took it to the next level, blogging that she briefly worked as a prostitute in late 2006.

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“We’re just not going to have this woman in front of a class,” Bloomberg said.

CBS 2’s Tony Aiello asked the mayor how thorough the required background check was before Petro was hired in August 2007.

“Obviously, whatever they did, did not turn this up,” Bloomberg responded.

Another question — did any administrators at PS 70 raise a red flag about Petro. She claims at least one supervisor was aware of her sex worker past.

Whether she broke the law in terms of applying for and getting tenure or whether the system just broke down is being investigated.

What does the teachers’ union make of all this? Aiello wanted to see if someone could go on camera about the Petro situation, but since the story broke the United Federation of Teachers has refused to talk.

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The case of an admitted former prostitute, who became a tenured teacher, is the last thing the union needs as it deals with efforts to reform the tenure system.

Tony Aiello