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Custodian could be fired for recruiting students as models

October 29, 2009
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SANTA CLARA, CA — The Wilcox High School custodian''s job is in jeopardy because the Santa Clara Unified School District claims he violated the district''s sexual harassment policies by recruiting attractive students to pose for pictures for his Rockabilly Model agency and displaying them at the school, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Joe Miller, a well-liked, popular custodian who has been with Wilcox High School for 20 years, believes he is being made a "scapegoat" in the wake of the recent arrest of a teacher who is charged with having sex with a student, the story stated.
According to the story, Miller says school and district officials — including Principal Tab Taber — gave him a "green light" to use students for his Rockabilly Model agency more than two years ago after students appeared in one of his fashion shows.
The district''s report also states that Miller used the Wilcox High School campus for photo shoots and that Miller pulled students out of class to discuss modeling, something Miller does not deny, the story noted.
According to the article, a piece in the student newspaper once touted Rockabilly Model agency and its use of Wilcox High School students as models.
Miller, who twice received district-wide honors for his work on campus and as a student advisor, said: "I''m just stunned and very disappointed. It''s something they could have nipped in the bud if there had been an issue. It was very transparent; it''s not a clandestine operation. I just feel like I was set up with the [teacher/student sex] situation. All I''m trying to do is give these kids an opportunity. My site is very PG-13. Sure we can be sexy. Sexy is a part of it."
Miller said he believes the criticism was sparked by a handful of female employees who viewed his art as "deviant" and embarked on a "witch hunt," the story added.
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