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Teacher fired over picture drawing parallels to death of George Floyd


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    RABUN COUNTY, Georgia (WGCL) — A picture appearing to show a Rabun County High School teacher with his knee on a student’s neck is drawing criticism and cost him his job.

The photo came after students in Russell Grimmett’s gym class were discussing the death of George Floyd. The 46-year-old died last summer when a Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck. For reasons unknown, Grimmett allegedly engaged in a demonstration of the incident.

“I think anyone can put two and two together,” said Yareli Vazquez, a junior at the high school. “It was absolutely terrible, this coach, he’s a coach, is supposed to be a huge role model for these students. He’s not supposed to bring his own political views or opinions about situations like this and make a mockery of it.”

On Tuesday, the image began circulating online with parents and former students calling for Grimmett to be fired using the hashtag #kickoutrusty2021. Carlie Owens, a 2020 graduate of Rabun High, called Grimmett the worst high school bully she ever encountered.

“He’s an extremely ignorant person,” she told CB46’s Zac Summers over the phone. “He singled people out just for about anything. He told me at one point, ‘If you want to lose this weight then I’ll help you.’ I was 14. It damaged my self-image.”

The superintendent for Rabun County Schools, April Childers sent the following statement in response to CBS46’s inquiry about the photo:

Rabun County Schools takes these allegations very seriously.

We became aware of the situation that occurred on Monday, March 22, 2021 and took immediate action to thoroughly investigate the allegations. As of Wednesday, March 24, 2021, the employee no longer works for Rabun County Schools.

“While there’s not much diversity in our school, we at least need to be understanding,” Vazquez said. “Him being fired not only shows that the school administration is doing the right thing, but also shows the students that they care about us.”

CBS46 spoke with a number of people who defended Grimmett’s character, but they did not want to go on the record. We also tried reaching Grimmett at a number listed, but the voicemail was full.

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