A Tennessee high school athletic director was placed on administrative leave Wednesday for comments he made on an announcement video to students about the school's dress code, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Jared Hensley, who works for Soddy-Daisy High School, was talking to students about the school's policy banning athletic shorts. Here are the comments that got him in trouble:
"If you really want someone to blame, blame the girls. Because they pretty much ruin everything. They ruin the dress code, they ruin...well, ask Adam. Look at Eve. That's really all you really gotta get to, OK. You can really go back to the beginning of time. So, it'll be like that the rest of your life. Get used to it, keep your mouth shut, suck it up [and] follow the rules."
It seems apparent that Hensley was making a joke, but that did nothing to calm the outrage from parents and other administrators about what he said.
Once the video, which was initially posted on YouTube, got around, the school district's superintendent, Bryan Johnson, condemned Hensley in a statement:
"We find the comments about young women in this video inexcusable, as the sentiments expressed do not align with the values of Hamilton County Schools. The situation is under investigation, and this employee has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately. We hold our employees and our leaders to a high standard, and these comments do not match the high expectations we have for our employees. We seek to prepare all children for success in life after high school and expect our employees to provide an atmosphere that will empower all children to reach their full potential."
Some parents were also highly upset by the video, and even drew connections between Hensley's language and the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"The fact that they're coming from an educator is bad enough, but the fact that they're coming from a man in a position of power is even worse. These remarks are blatantly sexist and misogynistic," said Natalie Green, whose daughter attends a Hamilton County school. "And do nothing but perpetuate victim-blaming and reinforce the rape culture that is so insidiously ingrained in our society."
"This is how we Kavanaugh is getting so much support from the GOP. This nation has made sexism normal and acceptable. People feel like they can say things like this with no repercussions," said Alicia Whitley, a parent to four Hamilton County students.
Just a joke?
At least one administrator took a step back to ask: Is it really worth getting this upset over a joke?
"There's a lot going on right now to be worried about this in Soddy-Daisy," said Rhonda Thurman, the school board representative for District 1. "I'm having a real hard time getting upset about this. I'm not worried about that right now. He meant absolutely no harm by this. This is so ridiculous. Can nobody take a joke anymore? He was just talking to the kids in their language and trying to be funny."
(H/T USA Today)