ST. CLAIR, Mo. – Brianna Coppage, a former teacher at St. Clair High School, is speaking out several weeks after she was placed on leave and ultimately resigned over an OnlyFans account.
FOX 2 first learned Coppage was placed on leave in September, reportedly to supplement her salary as a teacher. She was formerly an English teacher and cheerleading coach.
In a recent FOX News digital report, Coppage revealed that she made almost $1 million from the OnlyFans account. She clarified that the account had no connection to her work responsibilities through the school district and that she invested in it exclusively during her personal time.
Coppage also revealed that various financial challenges played a role in making the account.
“I started it, one, to supplement my income, see what happens, and possibly make extra money,” said Coppage to FOX News. “I have student loans. I was working on my third degree. I have a master’s degree in education and was also working on my special-ed degree.”
“Teachers typically get further education because it moves us up on the salary schedule, so we can make more money if we have an advanced degree,” she continued. “So that was one of the motivations there. I’m going to accrue more student loan debt if I’m trying to get further education for my job. It was definitely not completely financially motivated, but it was a big factor.”
Coppage says she doesn’t have any regrets over the decision to resign. She expressed that people should be allowed to separate activities in their personal lives from their careers.
“It’s okay for people to be different and have different beliefs,” said Coppage. “I’m not going to convince someone who thinks that this is wrong that this is okay. That’s not what I’m here to do. But I just think if we all gave each other a little bit more grace and accepted that people are different, maybe the world would be a better place.”
Coppage told FOX News that she never once said or hinted anything to students about the account. She says it was not found by students, but rather by a group of adults who shared a link to her account in a community group.
Was it illegal?
Is it illegal for a teacher or educator to have an OnlyFans account? Even if done separately of work responsibilities?
It’s complicated, but the topic tackled by The Educator Online, an Australian education news website, earlier this year before Coppage resigned.
The main conclusion: The legality of an adult content platform, like OnlyFans, largely depends on laws and regulations within one’s jurisdiction, in addition to policies of their school district or employer.
Many school districts and educational institutions often have codes of conduct on what kind of activities are and aren’t allowed. Even if not specifically within the bylaws, experts say “having an OnlyFans account may create specific risk in regulated professions,” per the Educator Online.
Even if the account wasn’t accessed by a student, parent, or school official, it could present safeguarding risks for anyone linked to the educational institution, experts argued.
“Schools should be confirming their expectations on recruitment and annually as part of safeguarding or code of conduct training,” Megan Kavanagh, an employment and safety lawyer told The Educator. “Staff might be asked to confirm their social media presence and that their presence is in keeping with the Code of Conduct or relevant social media policy.”
Meanwhile, a second teacher at St. Clair High School was also reportedly placed on leave in late-October due to an OnlyFans account, and further consequences remain to be determined in her case.