Democratic Underground brings us news of a teacher who has led an exemplary career of twenty five years, and now faces possible administrative action because she writes adult themed novels as a side career. Judy Buranich writes under the pen name of Judy Mays. At this time, there are no accusations that Judy has acted inappropriately with any student over her career, no allegations that she has been promoting or sharing her books in school or otherwise directing her work towards an anyone who is underage.
Wendy Apple is a parent of a child at Judy's school, and says she fears for what her son may be thinking when he is in her class, based on the presumption that she (Judy) may be having some sort of inappropriate thoughts about her son.
Wendy has appointed herself a leader of local parents who have been notorious for being the community's "Moral Police", and poking around the private lives of local citizens who have not been arrested nor accused of a major crime which would pose a community safety concern. According to a private source, this group of parents has a thirst for attention and they have been on television before with another one of their modern day witch hunts.
These parents used a really sordid tactic by throwing one of their ADULT daughters on TV to say that she thought Judy's books crossed the line.
The discussion at Democratic Underground gives a link to the news coverage.
What these self appointed moral cops have done is to beg the question, "Can a teacher write about adult themes under a pen name and is there a limit about what can be written about?" Do writers now have to watch where their creative process takes them in the production of their material for fear of being publicly judged to be a bad character based on a work of fiction?
Carrington Corner now asks the following questions:
1. What about Judy's First Amendment rights? Where and when does her Federal protection kick in?
2. Does Judy's material really appeal to the prurient interests when taken as a whole in the face of modern contemporary community standards?
3. Does her work under her pen name actually violate any morals or teacher contract provisions based on moral conduct or interference to daily school operations?
4. If a teacher in small town U.S.A. can be given this sort of treatment, what about others in positions of responsibility? What about those in the sales, aviation, law enforcement, fire, EMS, Healthcare, business administration, property management / property sales, government, broadcast, and entertainment professions? Doesn't this hold them to the same unfair levels of scrutiny in their private lives also?
5. Where do we start minding our own business and respecting the rights of others around us to be anonymous if they haven't knowingly & forcibly hurt anyone or made an attempt to do such a thing?
6. Should writers be told they can only write certain types of material? If we demand this, then we have to lay the same uniform rules for everyone since every position in life has some sort of responsibility attached to it. Do we really want to destroy the rights of free speech and free association to make a few people happy?
7. Do we decide that only certain groups in America have rights while others do not, based on their professional position in life? What a slippery slope!
The fundamental assertion of the fact that there is no such thing as a thought crime, the fundamental right of a person to write whatever their creative process inspires and to hold their creative process as either a hobby or profession has been attacked since the early days of humanity. Just when we thought we have grown past such vile behavior, a few idiots rise from out of nowhere. Let's all be reminded that the fight for our First Amendment right to free expression and to be free from fear of reprisal for our protected expression will likely never end.
Carrington Corner asks that authors, even if hobbyists, support their local First Amendment Advocacy groups, and urges ADULTS 21 or older to buy Judy's books to show her support if her genre is your taste.