Today I am stuck in one place…a place of no sunshine and no forward motion.  And I’m stuck because there are just too many things dragging me back and holding me down.  I’ve tried to write this post no fewer than five times and each time I just stop writing and cry.  Why?

This week a high school teacher (Judy Buranich) was deemed by a parent as an unfit teacher even though she is recognized over and over as an excellent teacher.  A small group of parents are doing what they can to ensure that Mrs. Buranich is fired because in her private time and under a pseudonym, she has written nine novels that fall under the romance and/or erotica umbrella.

And people wonder why unions are needed in this country.

What possible harm is it to Buranich’s students that she writes romance novels?  Even if every single page of those nine novels is filled with the most sadist and masochistic sex acts one can imagine, those novels are not in her classroom.  They are not the texts she is teaching her students.

I know the rebuttal to that one…that Buranich’s novels are a reflection of her morals and we can’t afford to have anyone teaching our children who isn’t of the highest moral standards.

Except her students all have parents or guardians.  Who is the gatekeeper on their morals? Who ensures that they don’t have salacious thoughts?  Who ensures that those parents or guardians are even doing the barest minimum of moral role modeling?  And the answer is:  no one.

Anyone can be a parent.  No one checks to see if a potential parent will smoke cigarettes in their children’s presence.  No one checks how many beers that parent will drink every night.  No one checks if a parent buys expensive clothes and then returns them after the party.  No one checks if a parent lies, cheats, steals.  No one checks if that parent will use profanity, degrade people, or use violence in a child’s presence.  No one checks.  As long as you have a car seat in which to take home that baby, you get to be the most influential role models in a child’s life.

Nothing reflects the strengths and weaknesses of our own character as the mirrors that are our children.

9 thoughts on “Accountability

  1. You have EVERY RIGHT to be fired up about this! This teacher is writing and publishing in her OFF time! It’s not child-based porn. It’s adult-based romance and some erotica. So what?!? I pray this teacher’s private writings brought to the attention of administration by some hateful parent don’t end up getting her canned. What a neato bunch of “do-gooder” parents… I’m sure they have never sinned in the presence of their children. Never had a drop of booze. Never had a smoke. Never taken the Lord’s name in vein. Riiiiiiiiiiiight. Fight the good fight Kristina! She’s lucky you have her back!

  2. Wow, what a bummer. I’ve never thought of what would happen to a teacher who publishes erotica. But you are right. A parent could publish twice as many erotica books as your teacher and no one would lift an eyebrow.

  3. Beautiful words on a less than beautiful situation.

    As I read the beginning especially, I wondered–what does it say about me, that most the stories I want to write are terrifying horror stories? I must be an axe murderer on the side, that being so!

    Um, no. The things I write or dream of writing have nothing to do with who I am and how I interact with the people around me. You know what does have something to do with that? How I interact with the people around me.

    It so saddens me that someone can be much beloved and esteemed, but that a small group of people determined to point fingers anywhere but at their own hearts can have such a devastating impact on that person’s life. Just because–even if they don’t see it that way–it’s easier than turning that mirror toward oneself and really, truly examining what’s reflected back.

  4. I think the thing that bothers me the most was that all this was published under a pen name. There was no hard link between the pen name and the teacher – nothing to besmirch the reputation of the school.

    Also, i can’t help but look at this as a punishment for this teacher seeking to supplement her income.

  5. I’ve thought about this over the past day and I really do wonder if anyone would have been upset if the teacher were writing gruesome murder mysteries, the kind like…well, like on Bones or CSI. Would they think she committed murders as research, and planned a few on the students?

  6. Sorry I am commenting so late… been busy and just now catching up on my blogs. I guess in my mind I don’t understand how the parents think they have a case against the teacher, but obviously one or more of them were reading her books. So what does it say about them as parental role models that it is okay for them to read it but not okay for the person who wrote the material they’re reading?

  7. As a highly qualified, dually licensed educator with a passion for writing (I also love to read erotica), I can tell you in no way, is there any causal correlation between an adult reading or writing erotica and their ability to educate young children.

    However, as you and your readers have noted, there is a huge dichotomy between our character as a teacher as theirs as a parent. People want us to be the individuals they CAN’T or WON’T be. When we don’t fit that mold and show our humanity, people quickly crucify the very person who can be a huge advocate for their child’s growth, not to mention safety.

    I find it a sad thing when parents think they can justify their own immature and needy insecurities by making something that is none of their business a huge issue. They honestly have no idea what harm and discord they sow with their words and actions.

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