Teachers have been dismissed for cheating or, worse yet, having sex with students, but for writing a book? Give me a break! But that's exactly what seems to have happened in North Hanover, Ohio to a high school teacher named Carol Ann Eastman. Inspired by a friend who had written and self-published her own Fifty Shades-ish tale on Amazon, Eastman decided to try her hand at penning an erotic e-book. The result: Schooled, published under the pseudonym "Deena Bright." The book -- described as "Chelsea Handler meets Fifty Shades of Grey" and follows the story of a teacher who gets back at her fidelity-challenged husband by having sex with two former students -- has even earned the teacher four- and five-star ratings on Amazon.
But not everyone's a fan. When her school district caught wind of the novel, they came down hard on Eastman, ultimately putting her on a three-week "administrative leave." What the ...?!
She was officially excused and lost five days' pay for using a school computer for "social networking of a personal nature," a separate incident that violated district policy, according to the Canton Repository. Sure.
It bears noting that while the subject matter and plot may raise parents', administrators', and even law enforcement's eyebrows, it really does sound like Eastman's novel was 100 percent fantasy. In the acknowledgements section of the book, she even wrote:
Dear My School District: I love my teaching job. I love raising my kids here, being a part of this close-knit and outstanding community. I am proud to be here, honored and humbled to be a part of this district. Please don't fire me! I've never slept with a student, not even remotely close. I love my students: they're my kids, nothing more.
And although her teacher's union is technically standing by her, the president, George Baran, made a passive-aggressive remark about how he's "spent his life trying to show that teachers are special and have integrity. Something like this throws a wrench into that perception." So ridiculous.
All too often, I feel like teachers are expected to walk on eggshells to keep any "extracurricular" activities -- read: their personal lives -- hush-hush. And that's not right. People like Eastman are not just teachers. They're adults just like the rest of us who often have diverse interests and aspirations. Sheesh -- Eastman even published her book under a pseudonym! What more could or should the woman have done? To expect teachers to live a wholly G-rated life -- to even abstain from writing something X-rated -- while outside the classroom is outrageous.
For the sake of teachers everywhere who are trying to strike the right balance between their personal and professional lives, let's hope Eastman isn't punished further for writing Schooled. In the meantime, Eastman has hired an attorney to fight parental complaints or possible further action by the school. Given the outstanding reviews and now extra publicity for her book, maybe Eastman should consider whether she'd fare better by ditching the classroom and following in E.L. James' footsteps!
Do you think Carol Eastman had every right to publish this erotic book under a pseudonym?