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Downingtown Students Rally Behind Teacher Following Anti-Abortion Confrontation

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—Supporters packed a school board meeting in Downingtown on Wednesday in hopes of having a school administrator reinstated following a clash with anti-abortion protesters last week.

“I don’t give a **** what you think Jesus tells me,” Dr. Zach Ruff is heard saying in a cellphone footage recorded on April 21.

The controversial confrontation took place between Ruff and two teen anti-abortion activists protesting on a public sidewalk outside of the STEM Academy in Downingtown .

Ruff was placed on administrative leave following the incident.

On Wednesday, a majority of the room pleaded to have the beloved dean of students reinstated.

“The people that are attacking him on social media don’t know him outside the context of a single video circulating on the internet,” said one student.

Petition Aims To Reinstate Administrator Following Anti-Abortion Confrontation

“If they dismiss him it is only fueling the fire of extremists who come here to destroy our community,” said Emma Carr, a senior at Stem Academy.

Concerned parents and students say that the protesters were creating a dangerous situation and that Ruff responded with emotion.

A handful of residents disagreed.

“I personally, am pro-choice but what I really am pro first amendment. Those kids weren’t hurting anybody.”

Those kids behind the camera were 16-year-old Conner Haines and his 19-year-old sister.

“I’ve been in conversations like that before where a lot of people are yelling at me or things like that,” said Connor.

He says they were attempting conversations with students and passing out anti-abortion literature. He says he posted the video simply to show how people often react to his cause.

“The plan was never to get him fired and I don’t hope for him to be fired,” said Connor.

A decision on Dr. Ruff will not be delivered until an investigation is complete.

Officials tell CBS3 that investigators will examine surveillance video from the day of the protest.

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