Lauderdale County Coach Suspended After Controversial Comments

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - A Lauderdale County teacher and coach will be out of the classroom for 10 days after his controversial comments went viral.

Coach Bob Grisham is accused of criticizing the first lady's weight and making derogatory comments about homosexuals during a psychology class.

In a special session, the Lauderdale County Board of Education decided the football coach would be suspended for two school weeks without pay.

The teacher will also be required to go to professional development sessions to address sensitivity.

It was a classroom discussion recorded without the teacher's knowledge.  Grisham never thought his rant with anti-gay remarks would get so much attention.

In the audio clip, Grisham states:  “You can go tell the principal, you can call the superintendent and tell her.  I don't believe in queers, I don't like queers.   I don't, I don't hate them as a person, but what they do is wrong.  It's an abomination against God.” 

Supporters packed the special school board meeting Monday to learn Grisham's future with the school system.  After 10 days on leave Grisham will return to the classroom, but can no longer teach psychology.

“I think it’s fair, I'm a big supporter of Mr. Grisham,” said Lee Barclay.  “He's taught my children, my son played football under him.  He's a good Christian man and he misspoke that day.  I don`t think he should have been judged over a minute and a half.”

However, others think Grisham cannot be trusted to teach again.  One person in the crowd says the public school system is not the place to expose susceptible students to the controversial views of one person.

"We all have thoughts in our mind, but to say it out loud to kids, and things like that, cuz I'm sure all of us have lesbian, gays, and all this in our family," said Christine Perkins.  "It is not for anybody to say what they think to a crowd of young kids."

Whether it was a slip of the tongue or an intentional message, the school board voted and Coach Grisham will stay on staff.

The superintendent declined to comment on camera after the meeting, because Coach Grisham had not yet been informed of his discipline.

However, the Board of Education released this statement:  “The Lauderdale County Board of Education and Superintendent Jennifer Gray are profoundly disappointed in the actions and statements of Mr. Grisham.  The Board has taken actions specifically calculated to prevent such actions and statements from being made again.  The Board hopes that this incident will serve as a learning opportunity and that all affected can move forward in a positive, productive manner.”

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