The likely soon-to-be-Lifetime-movie tale of Bryan Craig began in July, when the coach at Rich Central High School in Olympia Fields, Ill., self-published the 44-page book "It's Her Fault." (He's selling it for $11.95 on Amazon.)
It's billed as a relationship guide for the ladies, with tips on how they can release the inherent power they have over men -- tips that Craig is qualified to give, as he explains in the forward, because of his varied experiences as a counselor, as well as his life "surrounded by women." He's been the coach of a girls basketball team, after all, and a part-time bouncer at a local strip club.
The book sparked a controversy at the suburban Chicago public school, documented in detail on Patch, which had profiled Bryan last year. His story is stirring. As a kid growing up on Chicago's gang-ridden South Side, he played basketball every day to stay out of trouble, and went on to earn two masters degrees in counseling psychology and education administration. Girls at Rich Central sang his praises: He was like a parent, pushing them to do better, to go to college, to get a degree.
But not everyone considered the advice that Craig doled out in his book to be "on message." "The easiest kill for a man is through the young lady with low self-esteem," he writes at one point, going on to encourage women to submit to their men ("let him turn you every which way"). He opines about the different shades and textures of vaginas of women of different ethnicities and races, and he holds up strippers as women who have their "mind set in the right place in order to meet the true potential of the point of this book." (You can find other choice quotes here.)
Students jumped to their coach's defense. "He's male and he never came across as even thinking of that stuff," one of his former players, Senica Esco, told the Chicago Sun-Times, adding that Bryan probably wrote the book "because he was bored."
"You gotta make your money somehow," remarked Eric Stover, a junior who had Bryan as a counselor last year.
"He has his constitutional right to free speech," School District Superintendent Donna Simpson Leak told the Sun-Times. "We are concerned, we don't condone what's in the book, and we are monitoring it so this doesn't create a situation at the school."
School Board President Betty Owens was less diplomatic, calling the book "distasteful" and "inappropriate."
"It breaks my heart a little bit," board member Ceryl Coleman said.
On Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported that the school put Bryan on administrative leave, as the school investigates any potential disruptions that the book has caused.
was suspended in 2009 for self-publishing a fictional book that featured underage schoolkids drinking and drug-dealing. In January, Luis Aguilera, who like Craig grew up on Chicago's South Side, sued the Chicago Public School District, claiming that he was fired for his memoir detailing a childhood affair with a teacher. And in June, Natalie Munroe sued a Pennsylvania school district where she had taught English -- after it fired her over profanity-riddled, tell-all blog.
Teachers' First Amendment rights aren't unfettered, however. In the the landmark case Pickering v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled that it was a violation of teachers' constitutional right to free speech to fire them for speaking as citizens on "matters of public concern." Teachers can lose their jobs for broadcasting their private concerns, however, hence the slew of teachers who have been fired over the last few years for tactless Facebooking.
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