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.
“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.