Years ago, I met a new writer online named Judy Mays. Judy is, by far, one of the sweetest-natured writers I have ever crossed paths with...and talented to boot. She's a credit to the market, and her fans love her, with good reason.
This week, a group of parents in her small town have formed what amounts to a closed-minded and bigoted mob against her, demanding she be fired from her day job or give up her writing forever. Why? Though Judy has kept her writing life and private life separate for at least the last seven or eight years that I know of, some busybody came across the information that Judy writes erotic romance and went off half cocked, demanding she be fired...as a high school English teacher.
Now, mind you, Judy has never brought her writing into the classroom. She's never brought her pen name into the classroom. Some of her former students said they knew what she did, and it never bothered them that she wrote erom. So, what's the problem? Nothing but a bunch of bigoted, self-righteous fools that are trying to tarnish the good name of a great author and teacher and have outed her pen name, in the process.
I'll diverge here long enough to say that there is no inherent expectation of privacy on the internet. Unless you never use pictures of yourself, chances are, someone will find out what you do eventually, but the way it has been used against her is beyond the pale, and these parents and "news outlets" should be ashamed of themselves.
Nothing in her teaching contract says Judy can't write in her free time. Nor does it say what she's allowed to write. Considering the pittance teachers are paid, how they make ends meet is none of the school district's business. Not to mention that schools aren't paying teachers for their free time, and as such, they have no right to dictate that to teachers, as long as the teachers keep it separate, as Judy did. The parents brought it into the schools, not her, so she shouldn't be penalized for their stupidity.
And having a published author as a teacher means a stronger English teacher for the kids. Try going through edits a few dozen times and tell me it doesn't hone your understanding of the language.
Worse, her local news station seems to have taken the side of the mob. Not surprising, since controversy sells, but appalling. And while they are not approving all the comments in support of Judy (case in point...my own comment has not been approved, mild in comparison to some of the others posted though it is), a Facebook site started in support of Judy yesterday already has almost 4100 fans and hundreds of comments.
Show your support. I would love to get Judy over 10,000 supporters by the end of the day. It's certainly possible, so let's try it.