DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. — The Pennsylvania school administrator who was recorded on camera cursing out two teenage abortion abolitionists last month as they held signs on the public sidewalk has resigned.
Zach Ruff had been on leave from Downingtown STEM Academy since the incident went public, as the Downingtown Area School District decried his behavior as being unacceptable. Ruffs has now admitted his wrong according to a statement from the district.
“In reviewing the video, 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 his actions as displayed on the video,” it said.
As previously reported, the incident occurred on April 21 as homeschooler Conner Haines, 16, and his sister Lauren, 19, held signs outside the school that bore messages both about preborn babies and salvation in Christ. However, they were soon approached by Ruff, who took issue with the subject matter and became irate.
He told the Haines’ to leave, but they refused, citing that they were simply engaging in free speech on a public sidewalk.
“These are the people who are being murdered. Sir, these are image bearers of God,” Connor Haines told the dean of academics and student life.
“You can go to Hell where they are, too,” Ruff responded. “They’re not children. They’re cells.”
When Haines urged Ruff to look to Christ, he began to laugh and replied, “I’m as gay as the day is long and twice as sunny. I don’t give a [expletive] what you think Jesus tells me and what I should and should not be doing.”
During the encounter, Ruff also began showily dancing and singing “I Love a Parade” so as to keep students who were leaving for the day from seeing the teens’ signs. He also said angrily with a pointy finger, “Shut your mouth and don’t talk to my students.”
While many were shocked by Ruff’s behavior, some students launched a supportive petition drive after he was placed on leave. The online effort, which generated over 50,000 signatures, contended that Ruffs is a “crucial and valuable member of the STEM community” and that students “do not want him to lose his job over this incident.”
However, Ruff decided to resign this week in acknowledging his wrongdoing, and the district likewise publicly declared that the teens had a right to engage in free speech on the public sidewalk just as much as anyone else.
“This school district will not interfere with the rights of anyone to express themselves, as those U.S. Constitutional 1st Amendment rights are established in law,” it said in a statement. “The Downingtown Area School District has policies that comply with all legal requirements, including compliance with the First Amendment. The two demonstrators had a right to be on a public sidewalk and a legal right to speak there as well.”
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