High school assistant principal bans athletic shorts, tells boys to ‘blame the girls’

A Tennessee assistant principal was placed on administrative leave Wednesday after he recorded a video addressing a ban on athletic shorts, in which he suggested male students “blame the girls” for the ban.

“If you really want someone to blame, blame the girls, because they pretty much ruin everything,” Jared Hensley, who also serves as Soddy-Daisy High School’s athletic director, said in the video.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that the video, addressed to students and called "A Helping of Hensley," was removed from YouTube shortly after Hensley posted it, but another YouTube user reposted a 60-second clip of Hensley's statements.

"I'm sure most of you heard about the (now deleted) video of Jared Hensley, the vice principal of Soddy-Daisy High School, sharing some super interesting thoughts on the role girls have played in the history of mankind," Robert Parker, of Chattanooga, wrote on Facebook, where he linked to the YouTube video. "But just in case, here's a clip of the most egregious part."

The clip begins with Hensley addressing the ban on athletic shorts.

"I know, boys, you're thinking, 'I don't understand why. It's not fair. Athletic shorts go past your knees,'" Hensley said in the video. "I didn't make the rules. Well, I kind of did."

He goes on to tell the students that anyone who breaks the rule will get detention. After addressing the punishment, he begins blaming female students.

"They ruin the dress code," Hensley said. "They ruin … Hey, ask Adam. Look at Eve. That's really all you really got to get to. You can really go back to the beginning of time.

“It’ll be like that the rest of your life. Get used to it. Just keep your mouth shut, suck it up and follow the rules.”

Later in the video, Hensley addressed public displays of affection at the school.

“Take that down a notch, or 10; save some for the honeymoon, it’ll be fine,” Hensley said. “No kissing and hugging in the halls; we’ve seen enough.”

Hensley then got more serious, addressing the heavy rains and flooding in the area that left one person dead. Soddy-Daisy is located less than 20 miles southwest of Chattanooga.

“On a serious, serious note, please be careful on the way home,” he said.

The backlash against Hensley’s video was swift and sharp. Many Twitter users called the educator’s comments misogynistic, disgusting and unacceptable. One user called the footage the “I’m going to be fired” video of the day.

Another user tweeted a note directly to Hensley, saying he would not be the man he is today without the women in his life.

"My wife makes me stronger and loving," the man, who uses the Twitter handle Mr. Rattlebone, wrote. "My little sister makes me wiser and caring. My friends make me compassionate and welcoming.

“You’re (sic) view of women is not only wrong, it’s repulsive. Do better!”

Others defended Hensley on social media. One user, who appeared to be a student, called him "a great coach, a great assistant principle (sic) and a great man."

A second student posted a photo of Hensley directing traffic outside the school Wednesday afternoon in a downpour.

“You cannot tell me that this man doesn’t care for the students of Soddy-Daisy High School,” the student wrote alongside the hashtag #TeamHensley.

Student Paige Dunny wrote on Facebook that Hensley is one of the most caring members of the school's faculty.

“I’m not trying to defend what he said, which was distasteful and shouldn’t (have) been said in the first place, but I will defend Hensley as a person,” Dunny wrote. “I personally had him as a gym teacher, and I can say that not once did he make any sexist remarks or treat us any less because we were girls.”

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Teachers also defended Hensley, with English teacher Link Sparks writing, in part, on Facebook that the "silly incident, which is not newsworthy, has been blown out of proportion, has tarnished a good man's reputation, and could cost him his livelihood."

Another male Twitter user stated that Hensley was just being direct.

"This is what high school kids need to hear," the man wrote.

Still, others wrote that Hensley should never work in a school again.

"He needs to be fired," a female Twitter user wrote. "He is an educator. I repeat -- Hensley is an educator. He is supposed to be the adult in the room, not the resident misogynist. Every female in that school district needs to demand his resignation."

Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, responded to the video Wednesday night.

"In Hamilton County Schools, we are committed to serving all students well," Johnson wrote in a statement. "We have reviewed the video content. 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.

“The situation is under investigation, and this employee has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately. 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.”

Soddy-Daisy principal Steven Henry also apologized Thursday for Hensley's comments, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

"As the principal of Soddy-Daisy High School, I believe students are the focus of our work, and we value all students as we seek to create opportunities for success for our graduates," Henry said in a statement. "The recent comments about young women by Assistant Principal Jared Hensley are not representative of who we are as a school, and I do not condone his comments.

“I sincerely apologize that the video was played at school and that the inappropriate comments may have upset any member of our community. It is my desire that teachers, students, parents, and the community work together, focused on supporting all students at Soddy-Daisy High.”

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