By Alan Collins
JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A Corner High School teacher can keep his job. Gregory Harrison was accused of using a possible assassination of President Obama as a way to demonstrate angles to a geometry class.
Michael Todd of the Alabama Education Association read a statement from Harrison. "I publicly apologize for the inappropriate comments that were made in reference to the President during one of my geometry class lessons. I made a serious error in judgment," Harrison said. "What we want to make clear, mistakes happen. As we view it, it was a mistake and it has been addressed."
Current and former students attended the board meeting. They did not address the board during the meeting but they wanted Harrison, a 22-year school veteran to keep his job.
"He is the best teacher I ever had. He has helped me so much. He takes time out of the day to help students. He is an amazing teacher," Dustin Fulcher, a junior at Corner High School said.
"I believe if people knew Coach Harrison this would not happen. I believe it was a lapse in judgement and he was sorry for that. Never meant any harm," Farris Cameron, class of 2005 said.
Earlier this week the Southern Christian Leadership Conference called for Harrison's firing. Jefferson Co. School Superintendent Phil Hammonds says the agreement was best for all concerned. "I think his letter expresses his sorrow for that. It an unfortunate set of circumstances. We hoped that it had not happened," Hammonds said.
Harrison did not attend the Jefferson Co. Board of Education meeting.
Here is the statement from Harrison that was read by Todd:
I publicly apologize for the inappropriate comments that were made in reference to the President during one of my geometry class lessons. I made a very serious error in judgment with a teaching example of tangent lines and fully acknowledge such. To my students, colleagues and the public, I offer my sincerest apology for this action. As a veteran teacher of twenty-two years, I am keenly aware of the example I must set for my students and I realize that my actions fell short in this situation. I condemn violence in any form; therefore I want to clarify that at no time was there any talk of assassination or the killing or anyone advocated in my classroom. I deeply regret allowing this situation to ever occur and take responsibility for this unfortunate matter.
I have learned from this mistake and hope that we can all move forward. I would like to close with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong."
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