A school district whose f-bombing principal abruptly quit after he was caught on camera badgering and bullying two children has agreed to counsel its faculty and staff on the “constitutionally protected freedoms” in America.
That’s according to a report from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented Conner and Lauren Haines after their confrontation with former principal Zach Ruff.
The 40-year-old administrator “physically intimidated and shouted expletives at two teens, who were peacefully expressing their pro-life views on a public sidewalk near the school,” ADF said.
WND reported earlier how 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.
Now, the ADF reports, the Downingtown Area School District “has agreed to clarify its administrative policies to ensure that public sidewalks surrounding its schools are open to free speech.”
“As part of a settlement to avoid being sued in court, the Philadelphia-area school district will take immediate steps to prevent incidents like the one that occurred in April when a 40-year-old administrator physically intimidated and shouted expletives at two teens, who were peacefully expressing their pro-life views on a public sidewalk near the school,” the organization reported.
“No government employee – especially someone with authority over students – should harass or threaten anyone for exercising their First Amendment protected freedoms in public,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “Conner and Lauren Haines were peacefully expressing their pro-life views, holding signs, and talking to those passing by. The bullying and verbal abuse that Zach Ruff inflicted on Conner and Lauren, as documented in the video, made a policy clarification critically necessary, not only for the Haineses, but also for everyone in the Downingtown community. We commend the district for doing the right thing to prevent this from ever happening again.”
The district also sent the teens a letter acknowledging Ruff’s illegal behavior.
“I write on behalf of the Downingtown Area School District to acknowledge the illegality of Dr. Zach Ruff’s behavior on April 21 when you were speaking on the public sidewalk outside the Downingtown STEM Academy,” wrote Superintendent of Schools Emilie Lonardi in a July 7 letter to Conner and Lauren Haines. “You had every right under our Constitution’s First Amendment to speak and display signs like you did, and that right was violated by Dr. Ruff. Rest assured that Dr. Ruff’s actions do not represent the policy of the school district. Instead, we will be providing information to our employees on the First Amendment rights of individuals.”
Ruff had been suspended after the incident, and promptly quit.
But the ADF also documented that the teens were targeted by “many Downington Public School students and parents” who “followed Ruff’s example – sending Conner and Lauren hundreds of messages that demonstrated they don’t understand freedom of speech. Some of the comments were threatening and vulgar.”
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.