The F-bombing “gay” dean of student life in the Downingtown, Pennsylvania, school district has resigned from his post, according to an announcement delivered Thursday to WND by school officials.
The controversy began when Zach Ruff bullied and belittled two pro-life students on a public sidewalk.
WND reported when the district put him on leave.
In Thursday’s statement to WND, the district said, “Ruff, the school board, administration and all members of the Downingtown Area School District would like to put this terribly unfortunate incident in the past to enable everyone to move forward.”
The statement, delivered by Patricia McGlone, explained the district held a hearing on the allegations against Ruff. Officials concluded the allegation that the two students confronted by Ruff had been “banging on cars” was not substantiated.
“After hearing his side of the story in accordance with due process, Dr. Ruff brought up the possibility that he would resign. Dr. Ruff asked for, and received, additional time to review the charges and subsequent evidence to determine whether he would resign from employment. At the conclusion of the hearing, the district suspended Dr. Ruff without pay. Today he tendered his resignation to the school board,” the statement said.
The district noted the “hundreds of communications” regarding the incident.
The district said it received an “overwhelming amount of emails, phone calls, and letters,” including one from the Alliance Defending Freedom, a non-profit, legal defense organization representing Connor and Laurne Haines, the pro-life activists.
ADF, WND reported, issued a demand letter warning the school district to make amends by May 14 or face legal action.
ADF demanded the district issue a memo to students and others “explaining the rights of citizens like Lauren and Conner to speak on the sidewalks around the school about abortion.”
It also demanded a letter from the district and the assistant principal, Ruff, to the students acknowledging their rights were violated and ensuring they won’t be violated again.
“Please understand that we will advise the Haines family to take immediate legal action against the Downingtown Area School District and Vice Principal Dr. Zach Ruff if their rights are not immediately restored.”
ADF dispatched the letter to Supt. Lawrence Mussoline of the Downingtown District.
Ruff “berated” two teens for peacefully engaging in free speech about abortion on a public sidewalk, said the letter, sent after William and Dawn Haines retained ADF on behalf of their children, ages 16 and 19.
ADF said Ruff, under Pennsylvania law, likely “assaulted and battered” the teens.
“Ruff’s willful, aggressive attempt to intimidate Lauren and Conner and keep them from speaking by attempting to take their sign constitutes assault and battery under Pennsylvania law,” the letter said. “‘Assault is an intentional attempt by force to do an injury to the person of another, and a battery is committed whenever the violence menaced in an assault is actually done, though in ever so small a degree, upon the person.’
“Moreover, Ruff is taller and heavier than both Conner and Lauren. His aggressive language within inches of Conner’s face was an attempt by physical menace to put them in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. That is criminal assault,” the letter said.
Ruff approached two students who represent an organization called Project Frontlines and were speaking out against the holocaust of abortion – the estimated 60 million unborn who have been killed in America since Roe v. Wade created a right to abortion.
On the video, Ruff charged up to the students and threatened to call police because they were “trespassing” on school property.
“They’re not children. They’re cells. Go home!” screamed Ruff.
“Sir, you need to turn to Jesus Christ,” the teen responded.
“Listen here, son. I am as gay as the day is long. I don’t give a (expletive) what Jesus tells me about what I should and should not be doing. You are harassing public-school students, and I will call the police if you don’t shut up,” Ruff said.
The pro-life activists recorded the bullying and then uploaded it to YouTube (Editor’s Note: Video contains extremely offensive language by the school official):
The students repeatedly expressed opposition to abortion and offered Jesus Christ as the way to salvation.
“You can go to hell where they are too,” Ruff told them, pointing at the images on their signs.
Among his other rants:
“They’re not children; they’re cells.”
“You’re at a science-based school. Those are cells. Take it out, and if it can live on its own, that’s freakin’ awesome. Otherwise you’re harassing.”
“You and Trump can go to hell.”
“Shut up and leave me and my children alone.”
“Shut your mouth and don’t talk to my students. You do not have permission to speak and engage.”
He made multiple threats to call police, including when an adult got out of a nearby car and expressed displeasure with Ruff’s anti-free speech attitude.
Ruff eventually resorted to shouting and screaming to try to drown out the students’ message.
“I looooove a paraaaaade!”
To the student’s statement that “Jesus Christ can set you free from your sins,” he said: “This is a public school. We don’t believe in that here.”
Ruff later disappeared abruptly from the video while the pro-life students were engaged in conversation with another student.
“No one should ever be harassed and berated by a government employee on a public sidewalk simply for peacefully engaging in one of the most common free-speech activities,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The severity of this situation, as easily seen in the video, makes what we are requesting of the school district so necessary. This can never happen again, and the school district should ensure that both Conner and Lauren – as well as anyone else who would engage in protected free speech – feel confident that it won’t.”
The letter explains that American courts, based on the Constitution, consider oral communication, literature distribution and displaying hand-held signs protected activities.
The school announcement on Thursday actually defended Ruff, explaining, “It is clear to us that Dr. Ruff decided that the best thing for his students, the school district, and the community was to resign from employment effective at the close of business on Thursday, May 11, 2017.”
The school statement continued: “In reviewing the video, Dr. Ruff knew that the conduct he displayed was not representative of who he is and was not representative of the kind of educational leader he prided himself on being. Dr. Ruff has acknowledged that the demonstrators had a right to be on a public sidewalk. He acknowledged that his conduct cannot be defended or condoned and he deeply regretted his actions as displayed on the video.”