The assistant principal of a Tennessee high school has been placed on administrative leave after a video of him claiming that girls are to blame for a dress code policy that prohibits athletic shorts went viral.
Jared Hensley, the vice principal and athletic director at Soddy-Daisy High School in Tennessee, is featured addressing the issue regarding the school’s dress code policy in a video posted to the school’s YouTube page on Wednesday, which has since been deleted, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
“If you really want someone to blame, blame the girls,” Hensley said, as reported by the Times Free Press. “Because they pretty much ruin everything. They ruin the dress code, they ruin…well, ask Adam. Look at Eve. That’s really all you really gotta get to, OK. You can really go back to the beginning of time. So, it’ll be like that the rest of your life. Get used to it, keep your mouth shut, suck it up [and] follow the rules.”
The video sparked outrage and backlash from many in the community, who contacted school board members, the central office and also took to social media. The video went viral partly thanks to a local activist organization, Chattanooga Moms for Social Justice, which widely distributed it to draw attention to the issue.
Natalie Green, the mother of one female student who attends the school told the local newspaper that the remarks “disgust her.”
“The fact that they’re coming from an educator is bad enough, but the fact that they’re coming from a man in a position of power is even worse. These remarks are blatantly sexist and misogynistic,” Green said. “And do nothing but perpetuate victim-blaming and reinforce the rape culture that is so insidiously ingrained in our society.”
Superintendent Bryan Johnson called the comments made by Hensley about blaming girls “inexcusable.”
“We find the comments about young women in this video inexcusable, as the sentiments expressed do not align with the values of Hamilton County Schools,” Dr. Johnson said, according to Times Free Press. “We hold our employees and our leaders to a high standard, and these comments do not match the high expectations we have for our employees.”
Not everyone agrees with the sentiments, however. The high school senior class president, Tori Brown, said that, even though she thinks Hensley took his comment too far, she never felt victimized by him or any other faculty member at the school. Brown added that she believes girls do often violate the dress code, which justifies Hensley’s sentiment.
“When I look back at the four years I’ve been here, we have gotten athletic shorts taken away every year because of girls who choose to not only push the boundaries but to break them completely,” she wrote in a statement shared by WRCB-TV. “I promote comfort but, above all, I promote modesty.”