Thursday, 28 April 2011

Fight for the right to write: Supporting Judy Mays.

The school where Judy Mays teaches.
Image source: Here
Earlier today on Twitter thanks to @sleighanne, I caught wind of a ruckus in Snyder County, Pennsylvania. A 10th grade English teacher has been outed as a published romance novelist. A romance novelist, can you believe it?! The woman actually had the nerve to have a life of her own outside of the classroom! Detect the sarcasm yet? 

The poor woman has only been following her dream of being a published author and this is the treatment she gets. Publicly outed and shamed. Personally I found this so ridiculous that I wrote the below email to the WNEP website. I'm reproducing it here because it's a good summation of my feelings on this point.

Dear ----,

I am writing to you in support of Judy Buranich aka Judy Mays. I read and watched the piece about her on the WNEP website this afternoon and was horrified. Public humiliation for being a published author is what constitutes news? I am not from the area from which you are reporting. Heck, I'm not even from America but this is something that goes beyond local news and beyond borders.

Ms. Buranich surely did not cross any legal, ethical or moral boundaries by writing and publishing these books. She hasn't used student's identities or relationships for content, she hasn't written any novels that touched on inappropriate student/teacher relationships and I'm certain that she hasn't, as one neurotic mother suggested, been eyeing up any of her students in a sexual manner. Sex is a normal and regular part of life. Is writing about it really any worse than engaging in sexual acts? Are we really suggesting that Snyder County is a celibate area? Then where are all the children coming from?

Teachers are in a position of responsibility and they have great influence over the minds of our future generations, but they're also people. They are entitled to have lives and so long as they don't do anything illegal then I think it's nobody's business, frankly, what they do in those lives. Ms. Buranich has kept her teaching and her writing separate. The only reason that anyone knows about this is because a few people have assumed the role of moral police and decided that outing her as a, shock and horror, romance novelist is their duty.

Good teachers, those dedicated to educating kids, are becoming harder and harder to come by these days. If Ms. Buranich decides to quit the profession of teaching because of this incident then I think it will be a huge loss to her students. I think this article was a biased and sensationalistic attempt to grab media attention. I would hope that in the future more time could be taken to consider the human impact of your reporting.

Yours sincerely,


Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion and you may disagree with me on this point but once in a while, I like to take a stand. Judy Buranich has done nothing wrong. You may not like romance novels or erotic writing but confusing the content of her writing with her ability to be a good teacher is clearly flawed logic.

Tell me what you think.


  1. I totally agree with you. I also wrote this in a comment on The Bookkeeper's post about it.

    As long as her work doesn't have anything to do with her teaching (which it doesn't) she should be allowed to continue her profession as well as her hobby/second profession.

    Great email!

  2. Yes! I'm so glad that you emailed the station!
    Very well written!

  3. Yes! So glad that you have emailed the station as well!
    It's completely ridiculous that they sensationalized this and I'm so glad that people are speaking out.
    Great email, very well written!

  4. Thanks for saying this, Kathmeista! My mentor was also a high school teacher who wrote under a pseudonym. Even though she wrote historical romance while she taught in the public schools, she was terrified a parent would find out and complain.

    It's a very sad state my country has stooped to. It makes me ashamed.

  5. Leeswammes - Thanks for the support and comment. I felt a bit nervous sticking my neck out but have been pleasantly surprised :) I've just posted an update - the outpouring of support has made the journo reconsider... Yay!

    S.Leighanne - I'm so glad you brought this to my attention! Thanks :)

    Suzan - You're welcome. I was glad to have the chance to write it. It's so worrying when people have this extreme view about the printed word. You'd think they'd found someone selling porn in the playground...

    Lunar - Cheers :)

  6. I'm so glad other people are picking up on this story, in favor of the author/teacher. I actually do live in the WNEP viewing area (albeit far west of where this is actually happening) and I heard this story on the news the other night as I was making dinner. I could not (and cannot still) believe that parents are making a big deal about this. It is truly an outrage.