Ousted Columbus High Principal Marvin Crumbs has hired an attorney and given notice he will appeal the disciplinary action resulting from his showing faculty a clip of comedian Ron White’s “You Can’t Fix Stupid” routine on April 9.
While visiting the high school to address students via the public address system today, Crumbs told a reporter he has hired Columbus attorney Ted Theus, whose administrative assistant later said Theus would not comment today, but has filed notice that Crumbs will appeal his transfer from Columbus High to the school district's central office.
That appeal will go to the nine-member school board.
Crumbs told students at 2 p.m. today that he appreciated their support, but he was concerned about their safety amid reports of a protest march from the Cherokee Avenue school to the Macon Road administration building.
Facebook postings said the march was planned for Friday, but marchers first have to get a permit from Columbus police, and police Lt. J.F. Ross said organizers were discussing a march for next week.
Crumbs had heard the march would be sooner rather than later.
"I was told that a group of students was planning to march to the central office on Macon Road sometime this week," he said in his address over the school's intercom. "That concerns me because I hate to see our physical education classes cross the street and go to the park, much less have a large number of the student body marching down Macon Road. Also, with any demonstration off campus, there's a possibility of police intervention. I don't want that for any of you. Needless to say, if anything happened, it would haunt me for the rest of my life, because I truly do love you all. We are Columbus High Blue Devils, and we are always intelligent and thoughtful. I will go through the proper process to the proper end, and I want you to know that I thank you for your time and your attention. Have a great day, guys."
Matthew Bolin, a junior at the high school, said Crumbs' remarks made sense, but he hoped the educator would be able to return as principal.
"He said he's going to appeal. I'd love to see him as principal, being a junior," he said, later adding that several parents, including his own, were planning on contacting the school.
"We were just excited to hear his voice," said sophomore Asia Tooke. "It really made me think about all the stuff that has happened. Tooke said she supported a peaceful protest of the school board's decision.
"As long as we don't do anything against the law and no one gets arrested. As long as it stays peaceful," she said.
The video clip Crumbs showed during an after-school faculty meeting features White detailing parts of an aging woman’s anatomy plastic surgery can rectify. It concludes with his pointing out the one deficiency no pill or operation can repair: “You can’t fix stupid. Stupid is forever.”
White uses vulgarities that would be common in a comedy performance, but not in a business meeting.
Valerie Fuller, the district's director of communications, said Crumbs showed the video as a "morale booster." But when top administrators reviewed it, "it was deemed or determined inappropriate for the setting – in a professional, education environment, at that time – although it was only shown to faculty," Fuller said.
As a consequence, Superintendent Susan Andrews reassigned Crumbs to the academics department in the central administration building. Her decision prompted a student protest at the school Wednesday.
The controversy is generating publicity for White’s show April 28 at Columbus’ RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.
White also chimed in on Twitter: "Do we have such a surplus of educators we can fire them for WHAT!!! I will not rest until dr Crumb get his (expletive) job back!!"
"I loved it," said Erica Barron, a junior at the high school. "It's pretty funny that he said that."
Barron said she had not seen other tweets, including one that threatened to burn down Columbus High if Crumbs was replaced with a white educator: "if Dr Crumbs get replaced by a white person, we should Say it is racism and then burn down the school #JustAThought"
"I think that's dramatic. That's too over the top," she said.
Bolin agreed. "That's a little far, a little drastic," he said. "The attention is supposed to be on him. It's not about us."
Barron said the administrators over Crumbs had to make a tough decision and that the situation was sad for Crumbs' daughter, who attends Columbus High. She said she thought some of the students protesting were just out to get attention.
"A lot of kids who don't know him personally just want to rebel," she said. "But the kids that are friends with Tre'Cherie, his daughter, do generally care."