Our View: SD 227 justified in firing
SouthtownStar editorial September 24, 2012 8:48PM
Updated: October 26, 2012 2:12PM
As expected, Bryan Craig, the former Rich Central High School guidance counselor and girls basketball coach, has sued school district officials, claiming they violated his free-speech right in firing him last week over his controversial book.
This page is a vigorous defender of the First Amendment. But we hope that a judge or jury does not decide that Craig, who is tenured, be rehired. In light of the book’s strong “creep factor,” he should not be in a position to advise or influence teens, especially girls. He has a right to free speech but not a right to keep his job when protecting students is a priority.
Craig, 33, quickly resigned last month as coach after the SouthtownStar disclosed he had written the book — supposedly a guide for women to improve their sexual relationships with men but that consisted mostly of lewd suggestions on how women should please men sexually and that encouraged promiscuity.
Board members in Rich Township High School District 227 suspended Craig and then rightly fired him last Tuesday, saying his actions “fell far short” of the professionalism and judgment expected of the faculty. The SouthtownStar reported Thursday that Craig had engaged in other questionable behavior and was suspended for five days without pay in 2010 — conduct cited by the board in dismissing him.
Many District 227 parents and residents expressed anger about Craig’s crude book and concern about him advocating his weird ideas to impressionable teens. This clearly isn’t the type of person a parent wants counseling his son or daughter.
Craig’s $1 million federal lawsuit contends that writing the book was not part of his official duties, and the firing has humiliated him, caused emotional distress and hurt his chances of getting another job in education. Maybe so, but look in the mirror, pal.
Some might say that, rather than fire Craig, District 227 should’ve found him a job where he wouldn’t interact with students, but how realistic is that in a school district? If ordered to rehire Craig, the district could make him a custodian. He could not only write trash but collect it as well.