Missouri high school teacher put on leave after district officials discover her OnlyFans account

Missouri high school teacher put on leave after district officials discover her OnlyFans account

Vanessa Arredondo
 USA TODAYplayShow CaptionHide Caption#videoDetailsToggle{color:var( –color-dove-gray,rgba(0,0,0,.6));cursor:pointer;display:inline-block;font-family:var(–sans-serif,sans-serif);font-size:var(–type-7);font-weight:var( –font-weight-bold,900);line-height:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px);margin-bottom:-8px}#vdt_hide{margin-bottom:10px}.vdt-flex[hidden]{display:none}.vdt-svg{fill:var( –color-dove-gray,rgba(0,0,0,.6));height:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px);width:var(–spacer-twentyfour,24px)}Teacher shortages: Why educators are leaving the profession in drovesWith teacher shortages affecting schools nationwide, educators share how pay, parents, politics and the pandemic have led some to leave the profession.Josh Morgan and Hank Farr, USA TODAY

A Missouri high school English teacher was placed on leave after district officials discovered she was performing pornography on the website OnlyFans to supplement her income.

Brianna Coppage, 28, taught at St. Clair High School in Franklin County, about 55 miles southwest of St. Louis. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last month that she understood the risks involved with the account.

“I’m very aware that I am probably never going to teach again,” she said in an interview with the Post-Dispatch. “I am sad about that. I do miss my students.”

Coppage, who was in her second year of teaching at St. Clair, said she was put on leave Wednesday and her access to email and other school software was revoked as the district investigates.

Superintendent Kyle Kruse said in a statement that the district was made aware that an employee “may have posted inappropriate media on one or more internet sites.” Kruse said legal counsel would investigate and take action according to board policy. 

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“There is this expectation that teachers should be the moral leaders of students, and I do not disagree with that,” Coppage said. “I taught the curriculum. I taught students reading and writing, and I didn’t guide them on my thoughts or beliefs.”

‘A major crisis in education’: Teacher salaries become a bipartisan cause

‘Completely separate personal life outside of teaching’

Coppage said she joined OnlyFans during the summer to supplement her teaching salary, which was about $42,000 last year, according to public records. She said she’s made an additional $8,000 to $10,000 a month performing on the website. 

She decided to join the website because of its subscription-only business model, which she thought would help protect her identity. Coppage said she doesn’t know how the district found her account, and she said that no inappropriate content was filmed on school grounds.

“That was like my completely separate personal life outside of teaching,” Coppage said.

Since news of her OnlyFans account surfaced, her account has gained about 100 new subscribers and she has raised prices, she said. Coppage plans to continue posting on the site. 

“I do not regret joining OnlyFans. I know it can be taboo, or some people may believe that it is shameful, but I don’t think sex work has to be shameful,” Coppage said. “I do just wish things just happened in a different way.”

How much do teachers make?

Nationally, the average starting salary for a teacher is less than $42,000, while teachers of all levels of experience make about $61,000.

In additionthere are lots of prerequisites to becoming a teacher, including a bachelor’s and often master’s degree, student-teaching experience, and an exam-based license. Yet compared with similar college-educated workers, teachers make less than 77 cents on the dollar. 

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This “teacher pay penalty” has grown over the decades, according to the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, hitting a new high in 2021. In 1996, teachers made close to 92 cents on the dollar. 

2023 teacher shortages: What to know about vacancies in your region.

Contributing: Alia Wong, USA TODAY

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