Alabama high school psychology teacher Bob Grisham has been suspended for 10 days without pay for a rant that included calling the first lady “fat butt Michelle Obama." A student in Grisham’s class made an audio recording of the remarks, which also included derogatory comments about gays.
Grisham's suspension from Lauderdale County High School begins on Tuesday, and he has been barred from teaching his class for the rest of the school year and ordered to attend sensitivity training. Also the school's head football coach, he will be assigned "other academic duties'' for the rest of the year in place of teaching his class, according to Lauderdale County Superintendent Jennifer Gray.
Grisham will also have to meet monthly with Mark Butler, the school system's personnel director, to make sure he is meeting his requirements. Grisham's coaching job was not addressed at the Board of Education meeting on Monday night that decided his punishment for the remarks, Butler told TODAY.com.
During a debate-type discussion about current affairs in his class on Jan. 27, Grisham blamed the school’s low-calorie lunch offerings on “fat butt Michelle Obama.’’ He also added, “Look at her. She looks like she weighs 185 or 190. She’s overweight.’’
In that same class, he also voiced his disdain for homosexuals.
“I don’t believe in queers,’’ he said. “I don’t like queers. I don’t hate them as a person, but what they do is wrong and an abomination against God.’’
Grisham told Florence, Alabama's Times Daily last week that he misspoke during the debate in his class.
“We are profoundly disappointed in the actions and statements of Mr. Grisham,’’ Gray said in a statement. “The Board has taken actions specifically calculated to prevent such actions and statements from being made again. The Board hopes that this will serve as learning opportunity that all can move forward in a positive and productive manner.’’
Grisham’s comments about the First Lady’s posterior are the latest in a string of negative mentions. Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host, has called her Michelle “My Butt’’ Obama, and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) was heard saying “she lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.’’ The Atlantic also ran a story in December 2011 titled, “Why Fat Conservatives Love Calling Michelle Obama Fat” in which it labeled calling the First Lady fat one of the right wing’s “top political memes.’’