Fired coach who wrote racy sex book suing district
By Casey Toner firstname.lastname@example.org September 24, 2012 1:20PM
Updated: October 26, 2012 6:13AM
The former Rich Central High School basketball coach and guidance counselor who was fired after writing a racy self-help book containing graphic opinions on sex and women is suing the district for $1 million, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.
Bryan Craig, who was fired on Sept. 18, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The lawsuit is asking a jury to award Craig money for attorney fees and to “compensate him for the injuries he suffered.”
Craig last month was suspended as a counselor at Rich Central after a SouthtownStar report on a book he wrote, “It’s Her Fault.” District officials initially said he resigned from his position as girls varsity basketball coach after the report, but he submitted his resignation days earlier.
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.”
Craig’s attorney, Stephen Richards, defended his client with what he says was a quote from former President Thomas Jefferson.
“If freedom of speech is limited, it is lost,” Richards said. “That’s a good motto for this lawsuit.”
Richards said the lawsuit was filed because Craig’s name was “dragged in the mud.”
“We feel he’s been harmed,” Richards said. “If school districts can fire teachers for writing books, we’re all in trouble.”
Richards said Craig’s book should be protected under the First Amendment because he wrote it on behalf of himself, and not the school where he worked. Rich Township High School District 227 Supt. Donna Simpson Leak and the board members are all named in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit references the letter Leak wrote Craig on Sept. 14 prior to his firing that lists 23 charges of misconduct against him — 18 of them related to Craig’s book.
The SouthtownStar previously reported that Craig was suspended for five days in 2010 for referring students to a private tutoring company — for which the company was to compensate him. In addition to being suspended, Craig was warned after that any additional incidents of misconduct would result in additional discipline, up to and including firing, records show.
In 2009, Craig was also reprimanded by a principal after a man showed up at the school, caused a disturbance, and said Craig was having a relationship with his wife, a school cafeteria worker, records show.
Board member Sheila Friday said Monday that Craig has the right to file a lawsuit but doesn’t think he will succeed.
“It will be a waste of his time, the court’s time, and the public’s time,” Friday said. “Our school district deserves an apology from him. He doesn’t deserve our pity.”