Curvy NJ art teacher makes first TV appearance since calls for her firing
PENNSAUKEN — A New Jersey educator with an eye-catching figure who went viral for photos of her tight-fitting apparel in the classroom has made her first television appearance and released her first children's book.
Roxsana Diaz is an elementary school art teacher in Pennsauken. She's known to her students as Miss A.
But the internet knows her better by sight than by name. The viral photos posted to her @toyboxdollz Instagram page, which now has over a million followers, drew national attention in late August. She also received calls for her to lose her job.
NJ art teacher responds to critics
The teacher made her first public appearance on Friday as a guest on Tamron Hall's talk show. Diaz was part of an episode focused on the stories of people who have recently made viral headlines.
During her interview, Diaz said that the controversial photos had been posted well over a year before they were picked up by national outlets. At first, many people were supportive and she thought the attention was funny.
But soon after, she started receiving comments calling for her termination and telling her to be a stripper or adult film star.
"It became a concern when the tabloids turned everything into something ugly versus, 'look at this curvaceous, beautiful teacher,'" Diaz said.
Miss A. keeps her teaching job
After she entered the national consciousness, Diaz's supervisors took notice. While critics said she dressed inappropriately, her employers apparently did not agree.
"I do not [dress inappropriately]. I wouldn't have the job for the many years as I've had it. I volunteered for seven years at that school before even accepting the teaching position," Diaz said. "It's so scary to see that social media and the world can really feed you anything they want to feed you."
Diaz added that in the wake of calls for her to be fired, her students were worried that they had lost their art teacher.
"Two of my girls, two little girls, ran to me almost in tears and hugged me," Diaz said. She reassured them that she wasn't going anywhere and changed the topic. "I don't like talking about it with my children."
Pennsauken parent supports art teacher
The parent behind the viral photo appeared on the Tamron Hall show and came to Diaz's defense.
"It was just, like, an innocent thing," Jolea Ardnt said. "It wasn't to expose or make something bigger than what it was."
Ardnt, whose child was in the classroom, wanted instead to bring attention to the good job Diaz was doing with her students.
Curvy art teacher's new book
At the end of the segment, Diaz promoted her new children's coloring book "Little Buddy Meets the 'Art Teacher.'"
The book uses characters that Diaz says are based on puppets she has used with her pre-k through second-grade students. She says the characters help kids to express themselves.
"Art is not only drawing and coloring and cutting and pasting," Diaz said. "Art is a tool used for therapy and healing and growing."
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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