DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. – More than two dozen students attended a recent Downingtown school board meeting to present board members with 50,000 signatures in support of assistant principal Zach Ruff, but it wasn’t enough.
Ruff resigned Thursday over a video recorded by teen pro-life protestors outside of Downingtown STEM Academy April 21 that showed Ruff berate the homeschooled students with profanity. The teens, Conner and Lauren Haines, stood with signs on the public sidewalk as students left school for the day, and politely reminded Ruff of their First Amendment rights, and it sent Ruff into a rage.
“You are at a science-based school,” he told the teens in the video. “Those are cells,” he said of unborn children.
When Conner suggested Ruff turn to Jesus Christ, the assistant principal lost his wits.
“Listen here son, alright, I’m as gay as the day is long and twice as sunny,” Ruff said. “I don’t give a f**k you think Jesus tells me and what I should or should not be doing.”
“Just because you choose to believe a book of fiction, doesn’t mean I have to,” he said. “You and Trump can go to hell.”
Ruff went on to scream at the homeschoolers as they attempted to discuss abortion with students leaving the school in their vehicles.
“You are harassing public school students and I will call the police if you don’t shut up!” Ruff said.
The administrator then got into a heated debate with the teen protestors about public property laws, and their right to protest outside of the school.
When the teens again attempted to talk to students, Ruff sang loudly to drown them out, and danced around the sidewalk.
The Haineses later contacted Alliance Defending Freedom about the violations of their First Amendment rights and discussed the incident with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. The situation eventually led to a hearing for Ruff before the school board last Friday, when he was suspended without pay, Philly.com reports.
By Thursday, he was out of a job.
“Dr. Ruff, the School Board, Administration and all members of Downingtown Area School District would like to put this terribly unfortunate incident in the past to enable everyone to more forward,” the district wrote in a prepared statement cited by WPVI.
“After considering this situation in total, its divisive impact on the community, the reaction from his students, and the attention this situation has garnered nationally, it is clear to us that Dr. Ruff decided that the best thing for his students, the School District, and the community was to resign from employment effective at the close of business on Thursday, May 11, 2017.”
Ruff, who had worked in the district for 13 years, admitted he was wrong and the students were right.
“Dr. Ruff has acknowledged that the demonstrators had a right to be on a public sidewalk,” the statement read. “He acknowledged that his conduct cannot be defended or condoned, and he deeply regretted his actions as displayed on the video. This school district will not interfere with the rights of anyone to express themselves.”