A Three Rivers teacher left his job in the middle of the school day Monday rather than adhere to a district-ordered mandate to remove a pride flag from his classroom.
Russell Ball posted a video to social media minutes after resigning and leaving Three Rivers Middle School. Ball, age 43, taught physical education and health.
Ball said an internal email from administration was sent Friday. It indicated the district’s legal representation, Thrun Law Firm of Grand Rapids, recommended staff members remove pride symbols until further notice. A follow-up email Monday morning, however, stated staff must remove pride flags, banners and symbols immediately.
Ball said he opted to not follow through on the command, choosing instead to stand up for his rights and principles. Within a few hours after school started, he received additional notice that he had until the start of fourth period to comply. Ball said he spent third hour gathering his belongings and walked off the job at the start of fourth hour.
Three Rivers Community Schools interim superintendent Nikki Nash was not available for comment late Tuesday afternoon. Nash, however, told WWMT that the situation is ongoing and the board of education’s next meeting is Dec. 6.