British local authorities have suspended Leonora Rustamova, a school teacher, for writing a novel which shows her own pupils fantasizing sex with her, but students protest 'victimisation.' Some parents too have expressed solidarity with the suspended teacher, while others have expressed horror over the teacher's attitude.
The novel Stop! Don't Read This! features five teenage pupils at Calder High School in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire where the author was teaching at the time of her suspension.
It also talks about underage drinking and drug taking and is liberally sprinkled with swear words.
It has children skipping lessons, refers to a pupil flirting with a teacher and compares two youngsters to 'gorgeous Mr Gay UK finalists.' The story names several teachers, including real headmaster Stephen Ball, and features pupils missing lessons, stealing phones and setting themselves on fire.
One pupil is described as fantasizing and flirting with the 39-year-old Rustamova, while she says she would do anything for a smile from another.
She writes: 'It's getting harder and harder to see them just as kids.'
Later she describes in the novel how the youngsters practise 'orgasmic moans,' which sound like 'the soundtrack to teenage gay porn.'
At the end, the boys bust the drugs store beneath the school and emerge as heroes. The novel appeared on a self-publishing website Lulu.
Miss Rustamova was suspended in January. She has not spoken to the media, students or staff since the inquiry was launched.
The issue has split opinion in Mytholmroyd and nearby Hebden Bridge. Most parents on online forums broadly back Rustamova but others believe she was irresponsible to put her pupils in the book.
A Save Miss Rusty's Job group has been launched on Facebook by Rustamova's supporters. One comment read: "This highlights a big issue ‑ inspirational teachers are being systematically removed from the educational system by foolish laws. Far from protecting children, the law seems to be about protecting the backs of those in authority, and it's the children who suffer. They're the ones whose exam preparation has been disrupted by the removal of their teacher."
Also suspended along with her was another teacher. The students taught by the two say their GCSE studies were suffering because of their suspension.
Campaigners fighting to reinstate them have called for an investigation into how the school has handled their suspensions at a recent meeting.
The meeting followed a mass demonstration involving hundreds of pupils over the suspensions.
More than 250 youngsters walked out of lessons last week holding banners and chanting slogans in support of Leonora Rustamova.
They insist she only wrote the book to encourage pupils to read.
Former pupil Travis Downs, 17, one of the students featured in Rustamova's book, said pupils were now allowed to wear badges supporting the teachers on their coats but not on their school uniforms.
He said: "A lot of books we are asked to read just don't seem relevant. So when our teacher asked us what would make us more likely to read a novel, we said one that has us in it. We asked her to write the book and helped make it as realistic as possible."
In the book, Downs is described entering the classroom "like a stranger enters a saloon, like he's expecting loaded guns under the tables ... When he comes in chin down, looking at you from under his eyebrows you can expect a list of swearwords like he's got them belted into an AK47."
But the 17-year-old, who left school last summer and is now at college in Bradford, says he found the book inspiring.
"When she'd published the book, she came down the park and gave us our copies as leaving presents," says Downs. "She's an amazing teacher ‑ she gets students so motivated, she sees you as a person, not just a student."
"Miss Rusty is an inspirational and enthusiastic teacher who genuinely cares about her students, a rarity in schools," said another former pupil, Trisha Merrington, 20. "If she loses her job over this, we will lose one of the best teachers this side of the world. Should we not be praising Miss Rusty for the influence she had on her students, isn't that what teaching is about?"
Calderdale council refused to comment on the case as inquiries were continuing, but Paul Brennan, children and young people director, said the authority was concerned about the issue's effect on the "whole school community."
He added: "It is clear that the governors of the school, the headteacher, the staff and the teacher unions are working to ensure that the welfare of children at the school is uppermost in their decisions."
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