Gil Voigt is the Fairfield, Ohio, high school teacher who got himself suspended without pay back in December over a racially insensitive remark made to a student — and on Thursday, the local school board fired him for it. Voigt says he’ll appeal the decision, but he also says the uproar has ruined his life. He says the remark was taken out of context and misquoted, as were remarks he made in two other previous instances for which the school board slapped him with reprimands.
As The Inquisitr reported back in December, the troubles this time started for the 60-year-old Gil Voigt when an African-American student in one of his math classes told Voigt that he wanted to follow in the footsteps of Barack Obama and become president.
According to the student’s account, the response he received from Gil Voigt was not only discouraging, it was downright racist. He said that Voigt told him, “We don’t need another black president.”
On Thursday, after receiving a ruling from an legal referee who presided over a three-day hearing in the case that the incident offered “good and just cause” to give Voigt the heave-ho, the Fairfield Board of Education did exactly that, casting a unanimous 4-0 vote to sever the employment contract of Gil Voigt.
In a written decision, the board said that Gil Voigt, “repeatedly engaged in conduct that is harmful to the well-being of his students. He has made race-based, culturally based and insulting comments to students over a period of years. He was warned on multiple occasions that if his behavior continued, that he would be subject to termination.”
But Voigt says the whole thing was a big miscommunication, or even an outright lie. Here’s his version, which he gave in an interview with a local newspaper, the Journal News last month:
“I hear a bunch of people in the back, and they’re talking about wanting to be president someday, just kind of tongue-in-cheek. ” said, ‘Well, if you’re going to be president, I hope you’re a good one because we can’t afford another president like Obama, black or white.”
He said the remark was intended to encourage the students to “be better than what we have right now.”
Earlier, Voigt received warning for shining a red laser pointer on an African-American student’s nose and telling him that he looked like, “an African-American Rudolph,” and telling another student who during a school spirit celebration dyed his hair, that he looked gay.
“Can you imagine me calling somebody gay in class?” Gil Voigt said, denying the allegation. “I got street sense. Give me a little credit.”
He said the “Rudolph” remark was simply his repeating a comment made by a student.
Gil Voigt, who was paid $73,566 per year and is five years from his retirement age, has 30 days to appeal the school board decision to a county court.