LONG ISLAND, N.Y. — A middle school teacher in Long Island, New York, was fired from her job after a topless photo she sent to a former boyfriend in 2016 was leaked to students, news outlets reported.
Lauren Miranda, 25, said she had no idea how the photo got into the hands of students.
"That picture was never posted," Miranda said, according to WPIX-TV. "How it got out is the million dollar question."
Lauren said she took the photo and sent it to her boyfriend at the time, who was also a teacher in the South Country School District in Bellport, but that at no time was it ever posted online.
Miranda said when school officials found out about the photo, they first put her on administrative leave for three months in January, then fired her from her teaching position of four years last week.
Her attorney, John Ray, told WABC-TV that the school district is discriminating against Miranda for being a woman.
"Anytime a man has ever exposed his chest, no one has ever commented or had any problem with it whatsoever," he said. "But when a woman displays her chest, as happened here, she gets fired from her job."
Miranda has filed a $3 million lawsuit against the district.
It is legal in the state of New York for women to go topless in public. Both Miranda and Ray claim men do not suffer similar consequences when their chests are exposed.
"Any time a man has ever exposed his chest, no one has ever commented or had any problem with it whatsoever," Ray said. "But, when a woman displays her chest, as happened here, she gets fired from her job."
Miranda plans to sue the school district for $3 million if she is not re-hired. A review Miranda provided to WABC from last year states she is a "highly effective teacher" and that she was up for tenure in June.
"Ms. Miranda demonstrated in this lesson to be an outstanding Math instructor, knowledgeable of her content area, but most of all genuinely dedicated to the academic progress of her students," the review stated, according to WABC.
Miranda said her termination sends a negative message to female students.
"What message are we sending to them? Miranda asked. "To roll over when your picture gets exposed without your permission or consent?"
A representative for the school district did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment but told WABC it "does not comment on active litigation."
One parent, Randy Miller, told WABC that Miranda should take responsibility for her actions.
"Whether her intentions were for a student to get it or they weren't, a student did and you have to be responsible for your actions," Miller said.
Another parent, Arlene Henao, told the station she understands why Miranda was fired, but acknowledged the situation is "probably more complicated than just a black-and-white situation."