Kandice Mason was gearing up to start her job at West Hoke County Middle School in Raeford, N.C., where she’d be meeting her new class of sixth graders on the first day of school. But Mason’s employment status quickly became uncertain after a video of her pole-dancing was leaked to the school district.
The English teacher is a single mom with an extensive education, with a master’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s in English, and a certificate in phlebotomy. In her spare time, Mason taught herself pole-dancing as a source of exercise and freedom outside the classroom.
“That’s how I stay in shape. That’s how I feel like I can express myself and have time for myself,” Mason told local TV WTVD about her hobby.
After she posted a video of herself practicing her skills at home to her private Facebook account, she later learned the video made its way to Hoke County Public Schools, and she was suspended from her new job.
“I’ve worked so hard to try to make sure I could provide for my daughters, for myself, for our livelihood, to have it jeopardized just for doing something that I’m passionate about,” Mason said.
According to a document provided to Mason by the school district, social media practices are strictly set for faculty. “The board respects the right of employees to use social media as a medium of self-expression on their personal time,” the school policy read. “As role models for the school system’s students, however, employees are responsible for their public conduct even when they are not performing their job duties as employees of the school system.”
Mason disclosed that she is currently suspended with pay. However, she started a GoFundMe campaign to bring awareness to her situation and to ask for tutoring and babysitting referrals. She’s even offering pole-dancing tutorials for anyone interested.
This isn’t the first time Mason has come under scrutiny for her pole-dancing prowess. On her GoFundMe page, she wrote that someone at her last job had a problem with her fitness passion, but instead of being fired, she was treated poorly and “was unable to move up at the establishment.” Still, she won’t let critics keep her from doing what she loves.
“I’ve never felt ashamed of pole-dancing,” she told WTVD. “It’s just an art for me. So I just don’t see it as negative.”
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