Going After Teachers Who Have Side Jobs

As someone who teaches high school math during the day and writes about religion at night, and as someone who has been a target of a conservative Christian group, I have a soft spot for other educators who pursue their other interests outside of work.

Now, a high school English teacher in Snyder County, Pennsylvania is in trouble because parents found out what she does outside of work: She writes erotic novels.

Parents said Judy Buranich has been an English teacher at Midd West High School for nearly 25 years, but recently they found out she is a published author and writes under the pen name Judy Mays.

Her book is an erotic romance novel and some parents said they are not happy with the book’s content.

Parent Wendy Apple has a son in 10th grade at Midd West High School in Middleburg…

“Now my son knows so how is he thinking when he’s sitting in her class knowing what she does on the side,” Apple said…

Parent Deanna Stepp said the evidence is clear. “She is teaching children that are under the age of 18 and definitely the books that she is writing are adult books. I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author,” Stepp said.

Goddammit. I’ve never wanted to scream the words “SHUT THE FUCK UP” more than I want to right now.

Wendy Apple and Deanna Stepp have no idea what they’re talking about. They exist in some bizarro world where teachers have no lives outside the classroom.

You would think they’d appreciate the fact that their kids’ English teacher is actually a professional author…

It isn’t just a couple of oblivious parents, though. Some students are equally ignorant:

“I was shocked. If you are a teacher you shouldn’t be doing that,” said former student Shanette Apple.

“I was sort of shocked. Sitting in her class I had no idea. She is a good teacher but I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes,” said former student Drew Hollenbach.

It doesn’t fucking matter. That sentence needed to start and end with “She is a good teacher.”

Teachers have a right to do whatever they damn well please when they are outside of work. I don’t care if parents or students find out about it — that’s irrelevant information that should have no bearing on her job security.

(Can you tell how pissed off I am about this?)

Let’s go over the facts:

  • No one is complaining about Buranich’s teaching ability
  • Buranich never assigned her own books to the students
  • Buranich never even mentioned her “other job” to the students
  • Buranich wasn’t writing anything about her students
  • Buranich never mentioned her school on her website
  • Buranich used a pen name when writing her novels

She didn’t break any school rules. She didn’t do anything wrong. But she’s being treated like a criminal:

The question now is whether or not she’ll be able to keep her job. If her administration has any sense and courage, here’s the statement they ought to make:

There has been a lot of coverage about English teacher Mrs. Buranich this past week, regarding work she does outside of the classroom.

We understand that some members of our community may be upset. However, what our faculty members do outside of work is their own personal business.

Whether they write novels some may deem offensive, hold a religious belief others may find blasphemous, or volunteer with a political party whose views people may find appalling, we have no right to intrude on our teachers’ private lives.

Mrs. Buranich has a stellar record, educating thousands of students over the past 25 years. We support what she does in the classroom and we’re proud to call her a colleague.

Teachers have personal lives, too. (Shocking, I know.)

Just because a handful of students and parents decide to make a big deal over something that’s none of their business doesn’t mean Buranich’s superiors have to go along with it.

What can you do about this? You can go to the Facebook page supporting her. You can buy some of her books. Or you can write supportive emails to the administration:

Meanwhile, I hope Buranich keeps writing since that’s something she clearly enjoys doing.

***Update***: There is some good news after all this.

It looks like Buranich has support from many people in the community:

Former student Jacki Baker said she’s okay with it.

“She’s one of the best teachers in the district in my opinion and she has been writing for 20 something years. I don’t see why its an issue now,” said Baker.

… Former student Matthew Hile said people in the area have known about teacher’s second job for years.

“She wrote under a pen name. She didn’t try to make herself famous in the town. She didn’t try to sell her books to kids. She didn’t try to push her belief on to the students,” said Hile.

Trisha Bingaman said her children also had Buranich as a teacher, and she supports her.

“I think anything any author writes is their right to write. She is a highly published author and obviously there’s people out there that are interested in her books. I can’t wait to go buy one myself,” said Bingaman.

Still no word on whether or not she’ll get to keep her job, but I love seeing the outpouring of support.

(Thanks to Wanda for the link)

  • Lizzy

    I’m really glad that you’ve picked this story up. I’ve been following it as a member of the romance community. The only possible explanation for the outrage these parents are feeling is having their minds completely sealed shut by their puritanical religion. Why else would they care about the personal lives of anyone but themselves? Religion is the enemy of everything this country stands for. I hope that Mrs. Baranich keeps her job and sees a huge spike in book sales.

  • Anonymous

    Buy her books? Aw right!

  • tim

    Apparently one of the “complainers” Wendy Apple has a lot of drama of her own. Quite a few local messages boards are spilling all sorts of beans.

  • http://atheistreadsbible.blogspot.com/ Jude

    My sons’ English teacher wrote a book which is available on Amazon. I downloaded the first 6 chapters for free. Oh, my, is she a bad writer. Her book was filled with obscenities. It’s an autobiography, so I found out she was raised by abusive alcoholic parents. What did I do about it? I resisted the urge to give the book a bad review since I had no interest in downloading the entire thing, and when I next saw her at parent-teacher conferences I talked about my sons, not her poor writing ability (nor the fact that I’m a decent editor and boy does she need one). I detest romance novels, but that has nothing to do with teaching ability. Stupid parents.

  • Larry Meredith

    … and then you discover a science teacher who’s been writing creationist books.

  • Adam

    This is probably all coming from the bullshit rhetoric about teachers that has been spewing because of Wisconsin. Teachers apparently don’t do enough work at school (you know, 8-2/3 jobs, only 9 months a year, babysitting kids, whatever), and so instead of writing romance novels they should be working and teaching and that’s it. They should be earning their pay!

    Get off this blog and teach, Hemant!
    (kidding)

    Edit: Larry Meredith does make a good point, though. Would a science teacher that followed those rules in the classroom be ridiculed for being wrong outside the classroom?

  • http://cannonballjones.wordpress.com Paul Adams

    It’s a ridiculous situation but it’s one you simply have to face as a teacher. For example, Why Evolution Is True recently suggested that they were no longer going to allow links to pseudonymous blogs which would have barred me from linking to mine. I’m a teacher and I don’t necessarily want students reading what I post online, I have to keep those two areas of my life separate and that means posting under a nom de plume.

    I can’t condone the actions of the other parents in any way, I think trying to silence the teacher in her writing is utterly wrong. However she must have known that such objections would arise if this ever came to light.

  • geralyn mott

    my response to this article: OMG, you teach MATH?????!!!!!!?? (i, myself am also a MATH athiest … a calvin & hobbs reference!)

    but seriously – as long as the teacher didn’t read passages from her books out loud or had the students do book reports on her novels, what’s the big deal?? hey, at least we know she can write! when i was in high school, my typing teacher couldn’t TYPE!!!

  • Parse

    Next thing you know, they’ll be going after teachers who have children.
    “Children mean our teachers are having sex, and we don’t want our kids thinking about that stuff!”

  • Mike

    Total rubbish! Things like this make me understand why certain elements want to take away our parental and other rights. Frankly, people like this make the case that we don’t deserve them.

  • WebHybrid

    Thanks for another very good blog entry.

    For me this ugly, messy brouhaha brings to mind another aspect of our so-called culture: employers seem to presume *ownership* of their employees.

    It’s 21st century feudalism. Apparently Lincoln did not free the slaves.

  • Nakor

    Wow, it sounds like someone is exposing young kids to erotic material all right; with the media making such a big deal over it, the kids sure as hell are going to check it out now. Great jaerb there media. ~_~ It was even written under a pen name, none of the kids would’ve been exposed if someone hadn’t blown this out of proportion.

    @Parse: I was thinking the exact same thing lol.

    @Larry: Brilliant thought, that! If a science teacher can write creationist books but still teach as long as he teaches real science, then an English teacher can sure as hell write erotica as long as they aren’t taught in class. Let’s find us one and see how quickly they change their minds.

  • Defiantnonbeliever

    I agree with Hemet
    tehe, idk about romance novels but this sounds like a case of puritanical bullying.

    @Mike-parental rights aren’t unlimited, abuse isn’t allowed and I think it needs to be covered more in some areas less in others. I think smokers should not be restricted around their children, while http://www.endhereditaryreligion.com/ makes a case for stopping the abuse of child religious indoctrination.

  • http://www.banalleakage.com martymankins

    Shared this post on the Support Judy Facebook page.

    Fucking dark ages parents. Glad to see she’s getting some support. Now let’s hope the school administrators are not living the dark ages.

  • Heidi

    @Larry & Adam: This woman is writing fiction. There’s huge difference.

  • Richard Wade

    I think she needs to make a decision as to what she wants to do. Either be a school teacher or author,” Stepp said.

    These mothers take care of their children, but do you know what else they do? With their husbands?? Right there in the same house??? It’s disgusting! It’s shocking!! They need to make a decision as to what they want to do. Either be a mother or a wife.

  • Richard Wade

    Chaucer! Rabelais! Balzac!

  • http://youratheistmuse.blogspot.com/ Lina Baker

    I have two friends who are elementary school teachers and who write erotica. I think they may even have sex with their husbands.

  • Jon Peterson

    Larry: I quite frankly don’t care what a teacher writes in their personal time. I’m quite well aware (via out-of-class conversation) that my bio teacher from when I was in high school believes in creation. She stuck to the curriculum though, and never even snuck in allusions to religion. She is an excellent teacher, and I’m glad to have been in her class.

    It would be just as wrong to try to criminalize a creationist for extracurricular writing or activities. We may believe them to be wrong; we may be wary of their position in a classroom because of others who have garnered news for exploiting their position of authority to subject students to extracurricular views… but we MUST NOT allow our wariness to encourage us to criminalize their activities. That would make us no better than the radical creationists who’ve caused us to be wary in the first place.

    So long as they are a good teacher with academic integrity, it simply does not matter what they do outside of the classroom.
    (That statement should imply, of course, that any activities such as writing explicit erotica, creationist books, or any other activity that isn’t suitable for a school environment should not be advertised by said teacher to the school.)

  • James

    I’m a teacher myself and have been for just short of seven years, and I find this whole situation to be completely ludicrous. We all have parts of our lives that are better left private, whether it be an unsavoury job or hobby, your personal beliefs, or sexuality.

    The important fact is that her actions could in no way harm her students or their learning and could only be affected by this is finding out this information, which is only happening because of the media coverage. it would be better for the students if nothing had even happened about it all.

  • Gail

    This reminds me a lot of a situation my mother, an English teacher, mentioned once. One of her colleagues was fired for “being a bad role model” because she was pregnant out of wedlock. This was the 90s, but the way she was treated seemed more like the 1890s. It was in Georgia but in an Atlanta suburb, still conservative but not an extreme rural area or anything, and they very much disapproved of sex outside marriage. Never mind that sex out of wedlock doesn’t actually make you a bad role model, but for all they know she was artificially inseminated or had IVF on her own. I hope she found a job somewhere that she was valued for her teaching skills and not how well her lifestyle adhered to the particular world view of the administration.

  • jolly

    I thought woman teachers are all cloistered each night after a 5 o’clock curfew. A teacher better not get pregnant or we’ll all know what they’ve been up to. How far into the Dark Ages will we retreat? Is this like the anti-vaxers,ie, we’ll retreat until it gets so bad we remember why we left that age behind?

  • Tyler

    Parse and Lina got to the joke before I did. Darn.

    Anyway, these parent’s motivations seem fishy if taken at face value. I wonder if this has something to do with a non-erotica related grudge against the teacher.

  • http://racingboo.wordpress.com Nadia Williams

    Re a science teacher writing about creationism – Jon Petersen gave a great answer to that question, but I’d like to add that writing erotica as an English teacher and writing anti-science as a science teacher are two very different ballgames. It would be similar to a geography teacher writing a book supporting flat-earth stuff: it’s related to the subject being taught and may have a great impact in the classroom.

    However, there is simply no problem until the teacher allows their private-time hobby or extra job to influence their teaching in the classroom. Until that happens, there is no issue.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty

    Who cares what she does on the side as long as it doesn’t affect (effect?) her work in the classroom?

    And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with a good trashy read.

  • Anonymous

    Demonization of public school teachers is a sickening meme that I’ve had just about enough of.

    Let’s demonize those who are well and truly screwing the education system.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/myth-charter-schools/

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com David McNerney

    Let’s not forget that those parents (by virtue of being parents) have done things that, if filmed (the only difference), could be sold as hardcore pornography.

    And they didn’t even have the decency to disguise it by using their pornstar names.

    Sick.

    It’s amazing how the fine line between “decent” and “disgusting” is determined simply by where you choose to put the line.

  • Claudia

    This is yet another incident. As I recall there have been incidents of teachers being fired after vindictive ex’s published nude photos of them. There was also an incident of a teacher fired after he was found to have gotten into a relationship with an adult former student.

    Apparently for some people, teachers are not allowed to have lives outside the classroom. For some parents it would seem, the ideal teacher is one with no interest in anything outside their classroom, and hence a 1 dimensional, utterly uninteresting individual. That way, their child can get the same at school as they get at home.

  • Claudia

    A quick google of “Wendy Apple” shows a facebook page. Seeing the profile pic, I really cannot imagine where this prudish idiocy is coming from.

  • Claudia

    Oh and as a final thought, I highly recommend the comments thread on the original story. Not only is it uniformly supportive of the teacher (except for one woman who is Wendy Apple’s sister) but it has to be the most well written and punctuated comments thread I’ve ever seen, which includes comments from former students. Mrs. Buranich has clearly been doing something right.

  • http://selfra.blogspot.com dantresomi

    If we paid our teaches enough, she would not have to write novels to supplement her income. I wish these parents came out and supported those in Wisconsin or around the country

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Props to Richard Wade for a dead-on-the-mark reference to Music Man. Love it! “Dirty books?!”

  • Thegoodman

    These retarded parents should send their children to a catholic school where they will be protected from corruption and all of the nuns/fathers are free of sin./sarcasm

  • http://standardspicywhatnot.blogspot.com/ Naomi

    I worked at a conservative Jewish school once as a Kindergarden assistant and I brought the flyer in from my band to show the students…because it had my last name (name of band) and a drawing of a cat on it (that I drew) I got in trouble by the principal because DUH Dum da IT WAS ON A FRIDAY NIGHT! Yes, not because it was a rock and roll show in a bar at 10pm because it was on the Sabbath!!! That school had the oddest enforcements. I was only 20 when I worked there so may not have made the best choices but I felt very unfairly persecuted. I wore a tank top to drive to school (hot southern town) but put on my reserved cardigan when I got there. I got reprimanded for that because someone saw me in the parking lot showing my shoulders *palm to forehead.

  • Matt H

    @Larry Meredith:

    … and then you discover a science teacher who’s been writing creationist books.

    That’s their right as long as they do their job properly. My AP Physics teacher in high school was a very religious Christian. He was the head of the school bible club. However, he never once mentioned his beliefs during class and was an excellent physics teacher.

    I don’t know if you’re a Christian trying to paint atheists as hypocrites, or an atheist who doesn’t understand that supporting the rights of others doesn’t mean we have to like what they do.

  • Jonas

    Matt H.

    My AP Physics teacher in high school was a very religious Christian. He was the head of the school bible club.

    Maybe I’m always trying to see the best in people, when I say being a Christian does not imply being a Creationist. Nor for that matter does it imply being an evangelical proselytizing type.

    However as most school clubs need sponsors, why not have a religious club sponsored by someone who happens to be a member of that same religion?

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    @ Larry

    You would have a good point if Mrs. Buranich’s books were filled with poor grammer and misspellings. Or if the books were about how capital letters were evil.

    Secondly, if a science teacher wrote a creationist textbook, that alone would not be enough to fire him/her, or even to call for his/her removal. It would be a red flag, because it is a since that the teacher does not understand or accept the field he/she is teaching. The classroom should be watched. Only after he/she is caught teaching non-science in a science classroom should he/she be canned. From what the reports state, Mrs. Buranich never even mentioned the possibility that she was writing books on the side.

    P.s. English really needs a gender neutral singular pronoun that refers to people.

  • http://criticallyskeptic.blogspot.com Kev Quondam, Kevque Futurum

    So let me get this straight – this English teacher’s private life outside of her work was dragged into the public spotlight by parents who had nothing to do with this teacher, and they’re trying to get her fired because the things she writes in her private time are possibly offensive to their children’s tender sentiments?

    Wow, I hope the school board just ignores these parents.

    @Holytape:

    I use forms of ‘them.’

    that alone would not be enough to fire them even or call for their removal

    See, it works.

  • Marcie

    I’m not a teacher but have many in my family and I completely agree that what teachers do outside of their job is no ones business. Many teachers have jobs outside of school because the pay is usually so poor. It’s a shame that it’s such a thankless job.

  • Matt H

    Jonas:

    Maybe I’m always trying to see the best in people, when I say being a Christian does not imply being a Creationist. Nor for that matter does it imply being an evangelical proselytizing type.

    Well, that’s why I didn’t say he was a creationist, because I didn’t know. However, I was in bible club for a brief stint and I know the teacher was very much the evangelical proselytizing type. I guess my point was that he was still a good teacher because he kept that away from the classroom. If you talk to him off hours though, he’d talk your ear off about God, but he had the right to do that.

  • http://www.magpiesmarbles.com The Pint

    “I was shocked. If you are a teacher you shouldn’t be doing that,” said former student Shanette Apple.

    Yes, Cthulhu forbid a woman with enough grasp of the English language to make a successful living writing books might want to share her skills with students. Perish the thought that an English teacher might wish to use her knowledge and skills for anything other than teaching, because maybe she wants/needs some extra income or just because she enjoys it. I mean honestly, a teacher who enjoys having a personal life outside of school that she keeps private by writing under a pen name and declines to mention to students or teachers unless specifically asked? Oh, won’t somebody please think of the children!! *clutches pearls*

  • Larry Meredith

    Ok a lot of people are jumping at me for that comment I made…

    I wasn’t making a comment about this teacher. I was making a comment about Hemant’s attitude towards this story. He seems to be taking the position that no matter what a teacher does outside of school, it shouldn’t be a cause of any criticism towards their professional teaching career.

    I don’t agree. The criticism against this teacher is absolutely ridiculous, because there has been no sign that this woman has been mixing her career with her hobby or exposing the children to explicit material. From all accounts, this is a great teacher.

    I do think there can be personal interests and hobbies and side jobs that can be in direct conflict of a teacher’s work. Such as writing creationism books when you’re a science teacher. If that were the case, I’d like to be assured that they are teaching the curriculum properly and aren’t expressing doubt about aspects such as evolution. If I found out that the teacher by all accounts really was doing everything right and keeping their personal beliefs to themselves, then I’d be fine. But lets be honest, how likely is that? If you have a personal deep belief such as creationism, you probably also see evolution as the enemy’s tool to wipe you out. Even if you are forced to teach it, you are likely to at least express your doubt about it to the students.

    I’m sure there’s a lot more things that a teacher could be doing in their personal time that could be in direct conflict of their school work. I’d like to keep an open mind about this. I think personal things on the side are a reasonable cause of concern about teachers. I wouldn’t say it’s reasonable to immediately jump to dismissal of the teacher, but it is reasonable to be concerned. If a teacher has personal hobbies/jobs/beliefs that conflict with what they must teach, it’s reasonable to at least look into the teacher’s work and classroom behavior to make sure they aren’t doing anything fishy. This is what I think, contrary to Hemant’s position that teachers should be able to do whatever the hell they want, and that it should all be considered completely irrelevant to their work in school.

  • Lea

    It seems odd to me that while this teacher has had a number of erotic books published, it wasn’t until her latest, an interracial erotic romance, came out that she is being harassed. Perhaps the interracial aspect is playing a part in this ridiculous situation.

  • http://www.magpiesmarbles.com The Pint

    If we paid our teaches enough, she would not have to write novels to supplement her income. I wish these parents came out and supported those in Wisconsin or around the country

    She may be writing the novels to supplement her income because she’s not able to make ends meet on her teacher’s salary, but even if her salary was enough for her to live comfortably on, that shouldn’t be a barrier to her writing and publishing novels.

    She’s been writing under a pen name, so it’s not as if she’s broadcasting the fact that she’s an author of erotic novels – the busy body parents and press are doing quite enough of that. If she enjoys writing and a publisher has decided to publish her work, I don’t see how her being a teacher should prevent her from doing so. Being an author clearly wasn’t interferring with her ability to do her job until these nosy parents decided to make an issue of it.

    So yes, teachers should enjoy far more support than they’ve been given in this country, but that should include both supporting their professional lives and their right to enjoy a private life outside of the classroom.

  • Emily

    I’m in school for secondary (English) education and we actually discussed this in class. Basically what our discussion boiled down to is that parents are trusting teachers with their children for hours and hours a day, which is a huge deal. Parents are allowed to want their kids to have good role models as teachers. That being said, you’re always going to have a parent somewhere who disapproves of what you, as a teacher, do with the rest of your life. Most teachers also have to sign some sort of propriety agreement which, if violated, could get them fired for insubordination.

    As a class, we decided basically three things.

    1. Don’t violate the propriety agreement (or at least be very careful not to do it in public).

    2. If you engage in activities that are not against the propriety agreement but might be thought questionable, take steps to distance them from your teaching (use fake names, be careful what gets posted on the internet – 2 facebook pages might be a good idea-, don’t discuss it at school, &c.)
    3. Deal with those people who don’t like what you do calmly, with respect. Prove that you are a good role model by not freaking out, flipping out or raging. Remember, the kids are first priority.

    That being said, these parents are actually the devil.

  • BoomerChick

    OMG! What if Judy masturbates at home?

    Seriously, I think she should teach an erotic novel writing class at a progressive university. She would probably earn more money and would not have to be in hiding… although she still may be a target for some of the crazies.

  • Caleb

    @Larry Merideth: … and then you discover a science teacher who’s been writing creationist books.

    Heidi: @Larry & Adam: This woman is writing fiction. There’s huge difference.

    I fail to see the difference as they would both be writing fiction.
    *rimshot*

    Thank you! Thank you! I’ll be doing shows at 5, 6:30, and 8 o clock.

  • Jesus

    For a thread about an English teacher, many of you just gave English a bad name. You should be ashamed. Check your spelling before you submit. It’s just more proof that we need better English teachers everywhere in the U.S., and published authors are a good start. I support Judy!

  • http://lifeaccordingtohannah.wordpress.com Hannah

    From one cringing Christian to a very unhappy atheist ;) (at least momentarily)

    I follow you on Twitter and I laugh pretty often at your tweets. I rarely agree with you, but you are pretty humorous. ;) Regarding this issue, I’m actually trying to determine what side I stand on. I try to look at things objectively before looking at them subjectively. I understand the parents’ frustration. They don’t want this sort of thing to influence their children because they don’t agree with the X rating her writings hold. However, if she wasn’t pressing it on the children, if the parents went looking for it and discovered it themselves, then they’re the ones causing the waves. This woman was keeping her private life entirely separate from her professional career. I used to go to a doctor who was a FABULOUS physician, but on weekends he was constantly thrown out of bars because of his behavior. Call me crazy, but I still went to him for any sort of health issue because I could count on him to not come into work hungover. He took Mondays off for a reason.

    As someone who claims to follow Christ, I have to say that I’m pretty disappointed in Christian organizations that go looking for targets. I fully understand standing up for the principles they believe in, but seeking out women like this? Oh my goodness. Yeah, good luck to them at getting her to understand the love of Jesus. Now that she’s been publicly shamed, I’m sure she’ll be in the front row at church on Sunday morning.

    All in all, I understand why they did it, but they didn’t do it on hardcore evidence that her private life was affecting her personal life. If I had to give an answer, I’d say I agree with you. Targeting someone is never an effective form of evangelism. Shame doesn’t seem to work either. I’m sorry that if any of those parents claim to follow Christ, they didn’t first approach her privately and say something. Establishing relationships and earning trust seems to work just a tad better than pushing for someone to be fired.

  • Dianne

    I find this so funny because there was an incident in Montreal recently where a student saw a porno film and who was the star…his teacher. She made the film while she was still a university student.

    Someone went to the school board and their attitude was “Who cares what she did before she was teaching as long as she is a good teacher.” The parents at the school had the same attitude. She wasn’t even suspended and no one even suggested she be fired.

    FYI, I understand this was a catholic school. I guess the french are just more enlightened then many other people.

  • Faeorain

    Ok, let me first state that my son is one of this English teacher’s students. My cousins were also her students more than 10 years ago. I can safely say that this second career of hers was common knowledge passed down from class to class over the years. SHE never mentioned it in class…and still hasn’t said a word about it while all this is now going on. My son said she has been her normal self in class during all of this, so it’s good to hear she is holding up pretty well through all of it.

    These people only NOW complaining ( less than a handful, and 3 of them are related), must be REALLY slow to catch on. Sometimes the kids, being teens, would joke about it out of class, but otherwise it’s no big deal to them, but this info has been out there a really long time. However, it’s not known who was the first to find out or how they found out, it is just certain is that this teacher has been nothing but professional about the entire situation. She never talked about her books in class…NOT EVER, she kept the two careers completely separate from each other, and the overwhelming majority of parents and students, past and present, have no problem whatsoever with her second career. We fully support her rights to a private life and the freedom of speech and of the press. And YES…she is an excellent teacher. She doesn’t give easy A’s…she makes the students work hard to earn them.

    These people complaining are pseudo religious nutjobs, by that I mean, they are hypocrites..fakes. They don’t even follow their own book ( most of these types don’t from what I have experienced, and those people are usually the first to point the finger at someone else). Not only because of their past deeds, and some recent ones, but also because their own Bible is full of sex and violence.

    I’m not from the area originally, but I can fully relate to this religious extremist element that resides within some parts of the area. I’ve had someone here ask me to show my artwork to a ” friend ” of theirs, only to find out afterward that it was a minister who was there to analyze my drawings. Apparently, this person thought I might be a devil worshipper, solely based on the fact that some of my work was a little “strange and creepy ” according to her. Nothing could be further from the truth…I can’t worship what I don’t believe exists :/

    All in all, this Mrs. B. has our full support.

    An additional note..in reference to the comment about creationism. I may not subscribe to the belief, but I’d fully support any teacher’s right to write about that in their spare time if they wish…so long as it’s kept out of the class, just as this English teacher has kept her books out of her class.

  • Ninjapino

    I love the fact that apparently most people had no idea that she was writing this stuff and were “shocked” by it. Well, looks like they do now! Hey, free publicity for your novel!

    Of course, she definitely shouldn’t be writing these books and be a teacher. The kids might learn books like that exist through psychic rays floating around the classroom. Because, we all know that there is no way the kids would have ever known about those books if they were never near someone who secretely writes them.

  • e-man

    re; Judy Buranich -

    I am a therapist and an interpreter. I’ve worked in the school districts k-12 and in colleges.

    What a teacher does outside of work can influence their work and the way they are viewed by those they work with and the students. However at the end of the day I should think the best way to evaluate a teacher is by the result.

    *Are the kids upgraded by the learning, the experience, the teacher.
    *Is the teacher a role model – despite our opinion of what they do on their own time – do they conduct themselves in a manner that reflects integrity, dignity etc. in the classroom.
    *Does she help prepare kids to be discerning adults, to think for themselves, to accept and adapt to challenges and diversity.

    There are many such ways to assess a teachers value but to condemn them for something unrelated to their work is not one of them.

    If she meets the bare minimum; doing her job (even in a mediocre manner) her creative interests outside of work are none of our business… until they affect her work.. (not our perception, or opinion or judgement of her work and internal world) the actual measurable quality of her work as an English teacher.

  • Kevin S.

    Teachers have a right to do whatever they damn well please when they are outside of work.

    Except be gay or have sex outside of marriage (if you’re a woman). – Jim DeMint.

  • Dez

    I guess “Ulysses,” “The Sun Also Rises,” “Lolita,” “No Exit,” and “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” will not be appearing on the school’s reading list, either. My, how the world has changed. We read those in Catholic school when I was young.

  • Nicoline

    One of my kids once had a teacher who worked in the marketing/PR dept. of a local NBA franchise. Personally, I found that much more offensive than a teacher who writes racy novels. My husband used to write pornographic short stories. He works for the government. Should he be fired, too?

  • Kate

    Mrs. Buranich is a great teacher, and I have learned a lot from her teaching last year. Everyone knows about her second job but the students here don’t care. Some students will ask her about it and she does not reply back. She’s not making any of her students sit down and read the first chapter and write an essay about it. Wendy Apple has had other complaints about the school district funny thing is, none of her students go to midd west anymore. I believe one is cyber schooled. So why is she complaining about it, probably for publicity, who knows. It angers me soooo much. No teacher is perfect, and what she does in her spare time is none of anyone’s business!!! I think its awesome one of my teachers is a published author! and like baker said she is one of the best teachers at midd west. Us students and teachers have a lot to deal with now, so stop causing more problems!

  • Alex

    So much pearl clutching over nothing, how many parents read trashy romance novels? Does that make them unfit too? Maybe we should all hand over our children to be raised by asexual virgins in a vacuum, problem solved.

  • JD

    Maybe if teachers were paid decently given their level of education and stress, this wouldn’t be a problem.

    As long as they don’t share their outside work and personal opinion with their students, I don’t see a problem. A pseudonym would be good though, to prevent accidental exposure. Everybody Googles, so if you don’t want some people to know what you do, keeping a pseudonym would prevent most of that kind of problem.

  • Miko

    Mike:

    Total rubbish! Things like this make me understand why certain elements want to take away our parental and other rights. Frankly, people like this make the case that we don’t deserve them.

    It’s always bizarre to see someone get angry about what their opponents are doing (trying to take away someone’s rights) and then respond by trying to do exactly the same thing.

    Rights are something inalienable that we have by virtue of being human and so equal to all other humans. We don’t have to do anything to deserve them; we just need to stand up to anyone so foolhardy as to think that they can take our rights away.

    dantresomi:

    If we paid our teaches enough, she would not have to write novels to supplement her income.

    Yeah, that must be it. Clearly it has nothing to do with the fact that the same kind of person who would become an English teacher would also be interested in writing. Who needs free speech when you’ve got a pile of money?

  • Steve

    Never mind that writing actually doesn’t pay a whole lot of money.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Hannah:

    Yeah, good luck to them at getting her to understand the love of Jesus. Now that she’s been publicly shamed, I’m sure she’ll be in the front row at church on Sunday morning.

    I’m just curious, what makes you think that Judy Buranich is not a Christian? You seem to be assuming that she does not attend church merely because she writes romance novels. Not all Christians think that writing (or reading) about sex is shameful. Who do think buys all those millions of bodice rippers across the country? I would wager that the vast majority of them are married Christian women.

    To assume that Mrs. Buranich is not religious simply because she sees no problem with writing erotica boggles my mind. I checked the content of some of her books at Amazon, and they are no more explicit than any of those Harlequin novels that can be found at your local grocery store.

    I’m sorry that if any of those parents claim to follow Christ, they didn’t first approach her privately and say something. Establishing relationships and earning trust seems to work just a tad better than pushing for someone to be fired.

    What would be the point of that? While I understand that these parents seem to think that writing erotica is a Very Bad Thing, why should they approach her privately about it? To get her to give up her writing career? It’s really none of their business what she chooses to write. If they find the content problematic, they can simply avoid reading her books.

  • gloomcookie613

    Here’s a great video from a local, former student about the whole thing:

    Link goes to Youtube

  • http://mattjohnston.blogspot.com Matt Johnston

    I find this matter odd in the extreme. Let’s take a look at behavior that is often excused by school administrators:

    1. Drunk driving. It is treated as an “illness” and is thus eligible for treatment under the school’s health plan–oh and if the treatment is rehab–teacher still gets paid in most circumstnaces.

    2. Incompetence. I am not talking about a teacher who has a bad day or even a bad year, but year in, year consistently underpeforms in their job. Can’t fire teachers for that–particularly if they have tenure.

    3. Dereliction of duty. Remember those Madison, WI teachers who were so busy protesting pension changes by the Wisconsin governor that they just decided not to go to work. There were so many that the schools quite literally had to shut down for a couple days.

    We hound teachers for having a life outside of the classroom. Really? Time to move on people.

  • James

    One would think that the parents would be THRILLED to have a published author as their child’s English teacher. Talk about qualified!!!

  • Shaun

    Quote: “Religion is the enemy of everything this country stands for.”HA!!!   This country was founded by puritans seeking freedom from religious persecution.  This country was founded so RELIGION COULD EXIST, without interference of state.  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  If you look at both, a law respecting one establishment of religion could favorite one religion, and a law prohibiting the free exercise thereof could again enforce a religion.     The founding fathers of this country were religious.  “It is that particular wise and good God, who is the author and owner of our system, that I propose for the object of my praise and adoration” (Franklin’s Works, Vol. ii., p. 2).

  • Shaun

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  John Adams


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