SD 227 board fires counselor who authored racy book
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org September 18, 2012 6:34PM
Updated: October 20, 2012 6:20AM
The Rich Township High School District 227 counselor and ex-varsity girls basketball coach who authored a sexually explicit self-help book was fired Tuesday night by the school board.
But Bryan Craig, whom the board unanimously voted to dismiss at a special meeting at Rich South High School in Richton Park, is considering filing a lawsuit against the district and appealing to the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, his attorney said.
“We regret the board’s decision. It’s a clear violation of Mr. Craig’s First Amendment rights,” attorney Stephen Richards said. “Mr. Craig is not going to let this matter rest.”
Craig last month was suspended as a counselor at Rich Central High School and resigned as girls varsity basketball coach after a SouthtownStar report on a book he wrote, “It’s Her Fault,” which contains his controversial and often crude views on women and sex.
The book included graphic descriptions about his opinions on vaginal differences between women of different races and said “the easiest kill for a man is through the young lady with low self-esteem.”
The board voted 6 to 0 to fire him. Board member Alyssa Hernandez was absent.
“Mr. Craig’s conduct in this matter fell far short of our expectations and evoked outrage from me, members of this board and many others in our district who have come to expect the highest level of professionalism and sound judgment from the people they entrust with their children each day,” Board President Betty Owens said. “Our actions tonight bring a swift conclusion to this matter and to Mr. Craig’s employment with the district and allow us to return to our priorities of preparing District 227 students for success in school and in life.”
Officials said Craig had a hearing Monday during which he was given a list of charges and an explanation of the evidence against him, and he was given the opportunity to explain himself. Richards said he didn’t represent Craig at the hearing, but he doesn’t believe Craig should have been fired because the book was not related to his employment.
“Mr. Craig was wronged,” Richards said.
Before the controversy went viral, Supt. Donna Simpson Leak said she had known about the book for about a week and said Craig “has his constitutional right to free speech.” He was suspended later that day.
Craig, 33, of Matteson, has been a faculty member since 2004 and is tenured. He could not be reached for comment.
Craig also faced controversy as a basketball coach when the IHSA ruled in February that Rich Central had to forfeit 16 regular-season games for allowing an ineligible transfer student to play.