Teacher's Racist and Homophobic Rant in Classroom

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Email district superintendent at Jennifer.gray@lcschools.org

Bob GrishamROGERSVILLE — School district officials are investigating allegations that a Lauderdale County High School teacher made slurs in the presence of students regarding first lady Michelle Obama and gays. Superintendent Jennifer Gray confirmed the investigation concerns the school’s head football coach, Bob Grisham, who also teaches driver’s education and psychology.

The investigation includes a 1-minute, 24-second audiotape of Grisham asking who knows who is behind the 600-calorie school lunch.

“Fat butt Michelle Obama,” he said. “Look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She’s overweight.”

Male voices interject comments during the discussion, at one point referring to Michelle Obama as a “fat gorilla.”

Later in the tape, Grisham referred to the U.S. as going in the “wrong direction” and tells the students they can “get pissed off at me or not. You can go tell the principal, call the superintendent and tell her. I don’t believe in queers. I don’t like queers, I don’t hate them as a person, but what they do is wrong and an abomination against God.”The tape was reportedly recorded by a student Monday and took place on school campus during the school day.

Grisham told the TimesDaily on Wednesday afternoon he misspoke.“I misspoke in a debate-type situation,” he said. “I have no hatred toward anyone or any group. People that know my heart, they know that.”

Gray said a link to the audio recording was sent to her in an email.“It’s an unfortunate situation, and we hope to clear this up as soon as possible,” Gray said.

No action has been taken against Grisham by the district’s administration or the school board. He was not at school Wednesday, and Gray said he has family obligations that were expected to keep him out of school the rest of the week.

“Before we do anything, we’ll investigate this thoroughly and gather information from other people,” Gray said. “Whatever we do in response to this situation will be dictated by board policy.”

The board’s attorney, James Irby, said Wednesday he’d not heard the audiotape, but had attempted to find it on You Tube. He said it was removed before he could listen to it.

Irby said the board will deal with the situation, “sooner rather than later,” but did not have a date for the board to act.

“The board’s range is to recommend doing nothing to termination,” Irby said. “And, of course, they have everything in between, such as suspension with or without pay or merely a warning.”

Grisham has been teaching in the Lauderdale County school system since 1991 and has been at Lauderdale County High School the past five years as a teacher and head football coach. His football team this past season advanced to the state semifinals before being eliminated.

Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.

Transcript of commentsTranscript of a recording that has led to an investigation of Lauderdale County High School teacher and head football coach Bob Grisham:

Grisham: Like those lunches - you get 600-calorie lunches - you know who's behind that?

Different voice: Michelle Obama

Grisham: Fat butt Michelle Obama

(Giggling in background)

Grisham: And look … look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She's overweight.

Different voice: Big fat gorilla


Grisham: I'm serious. Y'all, our country is, is, is going in the wrong direction.

Different voice: It's going straight to hell.

Grisham: You'd better be aware of it. And people running around like, oh it'll get better, it'll get better. No, it ain't gone get no better until things change. I can give you example after example of that, but I don't want to use any local names to give you examples. Things won't get better until there's a change in some areas and stuff. And you know what his platform was? Change. We're gone change. We're all … aw it's OK …. for … and … y'all can get pissed off at me or not. 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. I don't like being around queers.

Audio of comments made in front of students