Asst Principal Zach Ruff Resigns after Harassing Abolitionist Teens
DOWNINGTOWN, Pa — The Downingtown STEM Academy high school assistant principal caught on camera harassing teenage abolitionists in front of the school handed in his resignation earlier today.
Dr. Zach Ruff embroiled himself in controversy in late April after a video of his out of control anti-First Amendment behavior went viral. The video shows him yelling profanities at two teenage abolitionists outside the Pennsylvania high school on April 21st.
Downingtown Area School District released a statement today stating that “Dr. Ruff knew that the conduct he displayed was not representative of who he is and was not representative of the kind of educational leader he prided himself on being. Dr. Ruff has acknowledged that the demonstrators had a right to be on a public sidewalk. He acknowledged that his conduct cannot be defended or condoned and he deeply regretted the actions as displayed on the video.”
Ruff was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation in the wake of the video filmed by abolitionist Conner Haines, which led to his suspension without pay.
In a replication of Mr. Ruff’s unhinged behavior, parents and students alike came to Mr. Ruff’s defense on the Haines’ Facebook wall and subsequent school board meetings, leaving thousands of vulgar comments and making unfounded accusations about the behavior of the teens outside of the school. Supporters claimed that his behavior was either intentionally provoked or justified, and a petition supporting the former Dean of Student Life garnered over 50,000 signatures.
Accusations have since been proven to be fabricated, as school surveillance video that captured the altarcatation corroborated the Haines’ video.
To date there is absolutely no video or photographic evidence of the teens banging on cars, blocking traffic, or acting in any way contrary to what the already available videos depict – this despite the fact that there were hundreds of witnesses with cell phone cameras, no to mention the school’s own closed circuit security system.
The school was quick to condemn Ruff’s behavior, stating on their Facebook page and in their newsletter that “We do not condone or support the conduct expressed in the video and are deeply disappointed that this incident occurred. His conduct does not represent the values of the school district or the respect we expect our employees to show for the civil rights of others.”
In an official statement, Superintendent Lawrence Mussoline said, “In the past two days, I have received passionate emails both in support of, and against, our decision to place this staff member on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Among the emails has been the suggestion that we did the wrong thing, that the incident on Friday did not rise to the level of concern to merit administrative leave. I disagree.” His initial statement on the matter can be seen at STEM’s web site, here.
The school’s most recent statement, released earlier today, affirmed that the school district will not interfere with First Amendment rights in the future.
The Haines siblings consistently stayed on topic, saying they do not want their original message to be drowned out by discussions on rights or Ruff’s behavior. “Our goal in being out there was just to… engage with students about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that if they repent and believe in Jesus Christ they can be set free from their sins.” said Conner.