Soddy Daisy High School principal Steven Henry was critical of remarks by vice principal and athletic director Jared Hensley, who said that girls "pretty much ruin everything." Mr. Hensley has been placed on administrative leave after making the comments on an in-school TV broadcast,
Mr. Henry said, “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. 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.”
Mr. Hensley was discussing the fact that students are not allowed to wear athletic shorts at school.
This is what he said, "If you really want someone to blame, blame the girls. Because they pretty much ruin everything. They ruin the dress code, they ruin...well, ask Adam. Look at Eve. That's really all you really gotta get to, OK. You can really go back to the beginning of time. So, it'll be like that the rest of your life. Get used to it, keep your mouth shut, suck it up, follow the rules."
Supt. Bryan Johnson afterward said, "As an educator, I believe that all students deserve a high-quality education. In Hamilton County Schools, we are committed to serving all students well. 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. We seek to prepare all children for success in life after high school and expect our employees to provide an atmosphere that will empower all children to reach their full potential."
However, the female senior class president said she supports Mr. Hensley.
Tori Brown wrote on Facebook, "I would like to make it clear that I I am NOT using my position as senior class president to try to influence anyone, I am simply stating my opinion. I believe that what Hensley said was not well thought-out and was taken a little bit too far. With that being said, as a female at Soddy-Daisy High School, I have never felt victimized or shamed for who/what I am by Hensley or any other staff member.
"When I look back at the four years I've been here, we have gotten athletic shorts taken away every year because of girls who choose to not only push the boundaries, but to break them completely. I promote comfort, but above that I promote modesty.
"Looking at our senior class, the majority of leadership consist of females (class officers, SGA president, Beta Club, etc.) And it has been that way for years. I 100% cannot speak for every female at the high school and tell you their feelings on the issue, but as for your senior class president and vice president, we are 100% behind Hensley.
"While you're reading this, I just like to encourage everyone to make decisions for themselves. If you have an opinion then you need to say it and not hide behind your parents. As for the seniors, we are all on the edge of legal adulthood and if you can't make up your own mind about an issue, then that is ridiculous. Stand up for your own beliefs or you'll fall into the majority and I choose not to do that."
Paige Dunny, Senior Class vice president, said, "I personally know Mr. Hensley not only because he is our vice principal but because before that he was my gym teacher. I would like to say that not once during the span of our class did he ever make any sexist comments or treat us any different because we were girls.
"While the comments he said were distasteful and uncalled for, I believe that he did not mean them and they have been taken out of context. Mr. Hensley is one of the kindest and most caring members of our faculty and always goes out of his way to say hi and ask how I am."
Congressional candidate Danielle Mitchell said, "This is why women don’t report, why women are scared, why women tend to blame themselves. This ideology is being taught in our schools. It works its way into common spaces, and from a young age, far too many girls are taught that they aren't powerful—that it's their fault.
"From our work places to our worship places. From our schools to our senate. We must do everything we can to uplift young women—to make them feel heard.
"We must be better."