A Florida mother is upset that a Hooters waitress was a guest speaker at her son’s school Thursday during an annual event where members of the community come and talk to students about their careers.
“It’s just the wrong message,” Ashley Dominicci, whose son is in sixth grade at Calvin A. Hunsinger School in Clearwater, told the St. Petersburg Times. “I feel like we’re telling them [the students] that you’re the bad kids, and this is all you’ll be in life.”
The waitress, Brittany Morgan, said she wasn’t trying to recruit any of the middle or high school students she spoke to or telling them to become Hooters servers.
“I was telling them about professionalism,” she told Tampa Bay’s WTSP-TV. “Everyone was very nice and they seemed happy for me to be there.”
Morgan noted she came to the school dressed in a sweatsuit, as opposed to the franchise’s signature tight-fitting T-shirt, and told the Times she also talked about the company’s opportunities for young women and about looking presentable on the job.
She said she understood why Dominicci was upset and that she respects her opinion.
“But I’m confident there was nothing wrong with my presentation,” she said. “Most of us [Hooters waitresses] are going to school. We’re aspiring to do other things in life. This isn’t our career.”
Dominicci maintained she wasn’t “knocking waitresses.”
“They’re very hard-working,” she said. “My point is, these kids should have higher goals.”
The school’s principal, Stephanie Bessette, did not return a call to the St. Petersburg Times but said in an email to Dominicci that some aspiring teachers work as waitresses to pay for school, and other teachers do so to supplement their incomes.
“Working as a waiter or waitress in order to achieve higher goals should be commended,” Bessette wrote.
Morgan said she likes working with children and plans to return to college to get her degree.
The flap comes after parents in Compton, Calif. were outraged after former porn star Sasha Grey read to elementary school students as part of a national reading program.