Albany teacher resigns after appearing on Dr. Phil
March 21, 2008
Albany -- Robert Cross Middle Magnet School will be minus one teacher when students come back from spring break following the Friday morning resignation of 6th grade English and math teacher Sylvia Stewart.
"This teacher came to the central office this morning and tendered her resignation following discussions about her behavior and appearing on the television show," said Dougherty County School System Public Information Officer R.D. Harter.
Stewart and her husband were featured on a recent episode of Dr. Phil entitled "Let's Talk about Sex." Stewart thought the show would focus on fertility and the couple's difficulty in having a baby. But according to show transcripts, when the program aired, it dealt solely with sex addiction.
When asked if she sought permission from school administrators before appearing on the show, Stewart said, "No, I did not do that. Because again, this is a personal, medical related issue. I didn't feel they had a right to know about this. Originally, when we talked to Dr. Phil, they were going to incorporate sex along with the fertility. I had no concept that fertility somehow got cut out, but if you actually look at the transcripts, my husband did the majority of the talking."
But school system administrators say what was aired was not acceptable conduct for a school employee. They took action following phone calls from concerned parents.
"We all have the right freedom of speech, and this situation reflected behavior that was inappropriate for the aged children and for all the children in our school system to be given audience to. And her decision to make her social behavior public was not acceptable to the school system," Harter said.
But while the show focused on the couple's sex life and sexual addiction, what Stewart wanted out her appearance was counsel on conceiving a child.
She said, "Again, our dream is to have a child. If that meant sacrificing this particular position, then so be it, so be it."
School officials say that Stewart had no previous disciplinary actions taken against her prior to her resignation.
The school system tells us they contacted the Georgia Professional Standards Commission before they took action regarding this incident.
The episode of Dr. Phil did air a warning to viewers during the show that the topic of discussion was for adult audiences only.