Bob Grisham, Lauderdale County High School football coach and teacher, has been suspended for 10 days without pay and must attend sensitivity training after being caught on tape making anti-gay statements and derogatory comments about first lady Michelle Obama to his students.
Lauderdale County Board of Education members met in closed, executive session to discuss the matter Monday, Jan. 4. In addition to the suspension and sensitivity training, the board also removed Grisham from teaching his psychology class.
Critics are calling the punishment a “slap on the wrist” and continue to demand Grisham be terminated from his position. An online petition being circulated asking for Grisham’s termination has already received thousands of signatures.
Earlier this week an audio recording surfaced of the Alabama teacher and football coach telling his students that gays are “an abomination against God.” Grisham went on to refer to the first lady as “Fat butt Michelle Obama” told his students she was overweight, and blamed her for poor school lunches. Perhaps even more disturbing, Grisham did nothing when one of his students called the first lady a “big fat gorilla.”
Despite Grisham’s offensive rant, and despite the fact that he apparently tolerates and welcomes racist comments in his classroom, some locals continue to support him, and think the punishment fits the crime. About the punishment, one resident said:
"I think it's fair because I'm a big supporter of Mr. Grisham. I've known him for years. He's taught my children. My son played football under him. He's a good Christian man; he just misspoke that day."
Others, however, refuse to excuse or forgive a teacher who would preach bigotry and hatred in a public school classroom.
A full transcript of Grisham’s comments can be viewed here.
What do you think? Is a 10 day suspension without pay and sensitivity training an appropriate punishment for Grisham? Leave a comment - express yourself.