BBC: UK Ex-Porn Actor Teacher Defends Past

Benedict Garrett, 31, was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct but left free to continue teaching.

A UK secondary school teacher who moonlighted as a stripper and porn actor has said he does not think he did anything wrong, reports the BBC.

Pupils at Beal High School, where he worked, had seen him in a trailer for a porn film.

Mr Garrett said “I don’t think I’ve done anything that goes against my values and I worked incredibly hard as a teacher. What a teacher chooses to do in their life outside that work is up to them.”

Mr Garrett was head of personal, social and health education at the school between 1 January 2008 and 16 July 2010, the report claims.

The stripper, whose alias is Johnny Anglais, admitted it “might be slightly embarrassing” if students had seen his porn films, but “no more than me starring as a monkey in the school musical”.

He added he did not see himself as a role model, asking:

“If teachers are role models, why do we tolerate teachers who smoke, when smoking is linked to thousands of deaths? Do we look at teachers who are fat and say you shouldn’t be teaching? Obesity is linked to thousands of deaths.”

Norman Wells, from the Family Education Trust, which campaigns against pornography and supports policies which promote marriage, said:

“Benedict Garrett is being naive if he imagines that performing as a stripper and appearing in porn films is compatible with teaching responsible attitudes towards sex and relationships as a teacher of personal, social and health education. The vast majority of parents would be uncomfortable, to say the least, to have their children taught by someone involved in the sleazy world of the sex industry.”

A spokesperson for the school said:

“Our judgement was that Mr Garrett’s conduct was not compatible with that expected of a teacher. The General Teaching Council have confirmed this judgement.”

This comes not long after a soft-porn director has spoken out and claims that, as teenagers’ ideas of sex is becoming more and more skewed by the internet, the answer is to put it on the curriculum, writes Margarette Driscoll at the Times.

Justin Ribeiro dos Santos believes the only way to tackle the problem is to acknowledge porn’s existence and put it on the school curriculum, next to drugs and alcohol.

“Kids know a lot about the dangers of drug abuse. We should say to kids, ‘Porn is a vice and, like drugs or alcohol or overeating, it can get out of control.’ Parents need to join forces with schools because all this needs to be talked about openly.”

Before you throw your hands up in horror at the thought of various gradations of porn being taught in the classroom, consider dos Santos’s rationale, writes Driscoll.

The internet is the problem, he says.

“Other than that, the market is self-regulating. Kids can’t just walk into sex shops, which is where most porn films are sold. It’s not easy to access porn on cable TV. But on the internet, kids can find porn easily, even if they’re not looking for it. If you search for ‘honey bees’ you could get a porn site — so watch out if they’re doing a project on beekeeping. It’s out there and the reality is, we can’t stop that. French and Italian kids are allowed to drink at the dinner table and they don’t have our problems with binge drinking. Maybe it’s the same with porn. We need to stop being so prudish.”

He believes in tackling the problem openly, rather than driving it underground.

Research by Forensic Software, the company behind CyberSentinel, a program that allows parents to block children’s access to certain websites, has found that the average teenager spends an hour and 40 minutes a week on the web surfing for porn.

“If you’ve seen something horrible, it’s very hard to get it out of your mind. There’s no research to show what the long-term effects will be but common sense says that if I have my eight-year-old son’s friends round for tea I shouldn’t have porn magazines lying around on the table. An unsupervised laptop is the cyber equivalent.” says Ellie Puddle, Forensic Software’s marketing manager.

“Three clicks can get a child somewhere you would not want them to go.”

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September 2nd, 2011

Staff Reporter

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