DOWNINGTOWN, Pa, May 1, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – An administrator was captured last week on video yelling an obscenity at two teenagers carrying pro-life signs on the sidewalk outside a “science-based” high school.
A day after a video of the incident was posted on YouTube, the school district placed assistant principal Zachary Ruff on administrative leave and issued an apology.
Ruff confronted Connor Haynes, 16, and sister Lauren, 19, outside STEM Academy. He stepped within inches of the boy to say, “Alright, alright, listen, sonny I am as gay as the day is long and twice as sunny. I don’t give a f**k what you think Jesus tells me about what I should or should not be doing.”
Ruff circled away from the pair a dozen times only to return, swearing at them and ordering them not to speak to “my children” several times, stepping within a few inches of Connor.
Ruff was so beside himself he appeared to perform a song and dance to distract motorists slowing down a few feet away, as Connor began witnessing to them. At one point, Ruff told the two pro-lifers, “You can go to hell” with all the aborted babies.
The maneuver caused one driver to stop his vehicle, come over and issue several profanities in defense of Connor.
“He can do whatever the f**k he wants,” the man told Ruff.
Ruff told the man he was holding up traffic. The man answered, “I don’t give a s**t.”
At the outset of the 18-minute exchange, which began only a few minutes after the Haineses arrived with pamphlets and signs, Ruff can be seen approaching, gesturing and ordering them away.
Connor says, “It’s a public sidewalk.”
Ruff responds, “Yes, it is, but you’re actually on school property.”
Connor countered,”You want to call the police?”
Ruff appears to accept that there is nothing more he can do and moves away, saying, “I’m more than happy to do that.”
But he returns immediately, declaring, “I wish to protect my students from unsightly things they don’t have to see. We do not have a single pregnancy in my school. I’ve been here five years.”
Connor tries to answer and is immediately silenced by Ruff’s reply. “You want to call me a liar while you’re standing out here harassing teenagers.”
“I’m not harassing anyone. It’s a free society,” insists Connor.
Ruff now responds to one of the Haines’ signs attesting to the humanity of the unborn, forcefully saying, “They’re not children, they’re cells.” He then forms his hands into a megaphone. “Go home,” he shouts. “You are at a science-based school. Those are cells.”
As Connor and Lauren attempt to reply, Ruff shouts over them: “Do not talk to my students. You don’t have permission to speak, to engage … and I will call the police if you do not shut up. Go to Planned Parenthood. Go to a doctor’s office.”
Again the Haineses assert they have a right to be on a public sidewalk. Ruff responds, “No, you do not. It’s called a school. Look into your laws.”
Connor Haines told LifeSiteNews that Ruff apparently never called the police. Nor did he or his sister.
This was their third visit to a public school, though they have also witnessed at colleges and civic public spaces several times with their parents and other Abolitionists of Abortion. Connor said he has watched many videos showing abortion supporters verbally assaulting pro-lifers so he was prepared, in theory, at least.
“He definitely was somewhat intimidating,” admitted Connor. “I could feel my heart beating faster.” But “the Holy Spirit was guiding me the whole time.”
Connor said his group, Abolitionists of Abortion, distinguish themselves from “pro-lifers” because they campaign solely for the outright and complete abolition of abortion, not for incremental restrictions and shutting down individual clinics that have been the target of pro-life legislators and activists in recent years.
Witnessing at high schools is part of the Abolitionists’ “Project Frontlines.” Connor told LifeSiteNews. “High schools are the front lines because a lot of students here will end up at the abortion clinic. A lot are living in fornication. We are trying to reach them before they get to the abortion mill.”
The message delivered by their signs and flyers has two parts, said Connor. First, abortion is the murder of a human being. Second, “They don’t have to hide their sin by aborting their pre-born child. They can repent and turn to Jesus Christ.”
Connor decided to post the video of his encounter with Ruff because he felt would-be students at STEM and their parents should see his behavior.
The Downingtown Area School District was clearly surprised to learn how Ruff behaved. It issued a statement that said in part,
“We do not condone or support the conduct expressed in the video and are deeply disappointed that this incident occurred.” [Ruff’s] conduct does not represent the values of the school district or the respect we expect our employees to show for the civil rights of others. …We truly apologize to all for the actions of this employee.”
Ruff, the statement added, was on administrative leave.
In the meantime, an online petition, “Keep Dr. Ruff,” has received more than 12,000 signatures.
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