Support Judy Mays

A television news station in Pennsylvania has broadcast a non-story about a 10th-grade English teacher who, in her spare time, writes erotic romance novels under a pen name.  If you follow any romance authors on Twitter, you’ve probably already heard about this incident, but if not you can view the “report” here.

Apparently some parents found out that Judy Barunich, who’s taught at a small high school in rural Pennsylvania for 25 years, writes racy romance novels as Judy Mays. These appallingly small-minded parents believe that this makes her unfit to teach their children. One of the mothers goes so far to suggest that the teacher might look at her son inappropriately in the classroom—just because she writes romance novels. I’m no lawyer, but that sounded like slander to me.

Mrs. Barunich does not assign these books to her class. She does not have her students write erotica for homework. By all accounts, she’s an excellent and inspiring teacher. So what business is it of anyone what she does outside of school?

There’s not much can be done if local, self-righteous busybodies decide to spread smears through local gossip. But it was grossly irresponsible for WNEP to join in that smear campaign. Seriously, where’s the story here? Writing smexy novels is not illegal. There’s no hint of impropriety in Mrs. Barunich’s professional conduct. The station claims at the end of the story that it tried to contact the teacher for comment, but she didn’t respond. Why should she? Why should she have to justify her second career because of a few dirty-minded parents who wanted their few seconds in front of a TV news camera? So the station ran a hideously slanted story for nothing beyond its titillation value.

News flash for WNEP and the disapproving parents: Teachers have lives outside of school! Often, those lives include sex! Some teachers even go so far in their sex lives as to have children! (To listen to them, you’d think these moms never did anything that smutty themselves. 😛 )

I don’t read much erotic romance, but I’m buying the work of Judy Mays to support her as she deals with this mean-spirited bullying. Here are her author pages at Ellora’s Cave and at Amazon in case you want to do the same. There’s also a Facebook community formed in her support that you can join.  And many people are letting WNEP know what they think of the station’s poor judgment in running this non-story on the WNEP Facebook page. (If you don’t see the messages of support, click Most Recent above the wall posts. You have to like the page to leave a comment.)

The story left me nearly speechless. But here’s one thing I can say: “Go, Judy!”


About nancyholzner

23 responses to “Support Judy Mays

  • liveyourwritingdream

    I totally agree, Nancy! I have no respect for narrow minded people. What she writes has no impact on her duties as a teacher. I respect that she chooses to have a career as a teacher, which in today’s world is one TOUGH job. (I have taught in the public schools, years ago…)

    Thanks for posting this!

    Take care,

  • nancyholzner

    I used to teach, too, so I know exactly what you mean. It sounds as though she’s served her community well for 25 years, and they repay her with this backstabbing.

  • Paris Brandon

    These people should be happy to have someone as literate as Judy as an English teacher in their community. From the sound of things even the reporters could use a little help.

    Does anyone remember when reporters actually reported the news without giving their very biased opinions?

    • nancyholzner

      The lack of balance in that story was horrible. The reporter didn’t talk to a single person who supported Judy. Yet there have been many local voices supporting her on the FB page and other places. It’s all about sensationalism.

  • anna kathryn lanier

    Well said! Yes, one does wonder how the woman ever managed to have a child, as it’s obvious she doesn’t like sex. I think the worst thing she said was the remark about what her son was thinking about the teacher’s looks. That was disgusting and yeah, since mom said it, he’s going to think it now.

    • nancyholzner

      Good point, Anna Kathryn! And of course a 17-or-so-year-old boy would *never* think about sex if his teacher didn’t write smut on the side… 😀

  • Deb

    Great post, Nancy! I put a link on my FB page. 🙂

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks, Deb! I’ve been so impressed by the outpouring of support for this author–by writers, by parents, by former students and others in her community.

  • Elisa Beatty

    Well said, Nancy! Thank you!

    • nancyholzner

      Thanks for reading! It looks like the attempted smear campaign has led to broad support and increased sales for Judy Mays!

  • Martha

    The mother who started all this admitted that Mays had been a great teacher – so where is their problem?

    • nancyholzner

      I have to admit I don’t understand people who feel that “morality” equals judging other people. You’re right: the only issue should be her teaching.

  • Kelly

    The one who started this whole thing should take a look at her own life. If her son wasn’t affected by her infidelity then why would this affect him? Your talking about a teacher, that has taught us and our children for 25 years. If she has not looked at any students sexually before this why would she now? Come on people find something good in people and talk about that.

  • 365andMe

    I read about this on Twitter and immediately purchased three of her books, the vamp/redneck series. That this has reached the press is insane. Shame on the parents!

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  • Lori F.

    It really disturbs me how other want to control other people. This teacher (I’m from southern central PA, Franklin County) is allowed to do what she wants after hours as long as it doesn’t effect her classroom. In this situation it does effect her classes that she’s an erotica author (I read that genre). What’s next, controlling what the teacher drinks in their spare time, what they watch on television, what is listened to on their iPods, where do we say enough is enough. She’s not teaching in a private parichocial school where they do have the right to place a morality clause in their teaching contracts. Mrs. B is teaching in a public school. I am ashamed for Pennsylvania for having these idiots out there to try to ruin someone’s life.

    • nancyholzner

      I used to teach, and I’ve known teachers who lived several towns away from their school district because they didn’t want to be seen buying beer at the grocery store or having a glass of wine with dinner at a restaurant. In this case, it’s been great to see the support and outright love of former students, who all seem to agree that “Mrs. B.” (as they call her) is an excellent teacher. And she’s handled the whole issue with grace and real class.

  • Debra Holland

    This is outrageous. I hope her book sales go through the roof. I just went and bought some, even though I don’t read erotica.

    • nancyholzner

      Me, too, Debra–and I don’t normally read erotica, either. It’s been heartening to see the support this author and teacher has received!

  • Dr J

    Even at this late date, so many of us continue to be incensed that small-minded people are making miserable a woman who has served the community and its children for 25 years, and by all accounts, has done it well. On Desert Island Keepers, a book blog, I have posted a personal rant and even then it doesn’t seem sufficient to exhaust the angst I feel over this. I sincerely hope that her book sales skyrocket. Would seem to be justice after all the upset these few people and a news organization have caused.

    • nancyholzner

      I think Judy has handled the whole issue with grace and class. And I hope the readers who bought one of her books in support of her enjoy her writing and buy more. 🙂 On the plus side, it’s been wonderful to see the support she’s gotten from her community, from parents, and from her students (past and present).

  • carmen veguilla

    Wow, Judy is one of my favorite authors, she desserves better. We are not in the time of the inquisition, nor we are in the times when people used to get black listed. This is the 21st century people, let’s start acting more enlighted. I also write stories (not published yet) and the reason for not attempitng to publish is because of my fear of being judge unfit to do my “day” job. Judy, you are a wonderful person, great author….excersise your freedoom of speech!! After reading this, I am going to start submitting my work, wish me luck!!!

    • nancyholzner

      Hi, Carmen! From what I’ve read, Judy recently heard from the Pennsylvania education department that they consider the writing she does on her own time to be a non-issue and not relevant to her job. It’s good to know that her job is secure, although it’s discouraging that some parents tried to make an issue out of it in the first place. As you say, this is the 21st century.

      I’m glad you’ve been inspired to start submitting your work–good luck!. I hope you’ll see your name in print soon!

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