Alicia Lozano

‘Keep Dr. Ruff' Petition Asks STEM to Keep Embattled Dean on Leave for Yelling at Pro-Life Protesters

The controversy surrounding an educator put on administrative leave for yelling at anti-abortion protesters outside Downingtown STEM Academy is anything but over.

A group of supporters created an online petition to keep Dean of Academics and Student Life Dr. Zach Ruffs on staff despite the kerfuffle.

Ruffs was caught on video last week screaming at two teenagers carrying graphic signs and preaching about the “holocaust of abortion.”

The video was taken at the end of the school day while students and parents funneled through a busy intersection bordering three schools.

Ruffs can be seen telling the protesters to “shut up” and “go home.” He was put on administrative leave pending a formal investigation by the Downingtown Area School District.

Students, parents and community members have since come out in support of Ruffs, who they said was shielding them from disturbing images of aborted fetuses.

The dean, an educator in the school district for 10 years, is loved by many people within the community.


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The group behind the petition released the following statement:

“As Downingtown STEM Students we do not condone the language used by Dr. Ruff directed at the pro-life protesters last Friday, however we would like to say the actions taken by Dr. Ruff were both morally and legally justified, and as such, he should continue his critical role at the STEM Academy as the Dean of Academics and Student Life. We would also like to inform Dr. Ruff that the vast majority of STEM students are standing with him, including 2800 and rising students, parents, graduates, and other members of the community who signed a petition to see Dr. Ruff continue his current role at the STEM Academy a Academy which only has 787 current students. When this incident broke out we were terrified that we were going to lose a great mentor, leader and the backbone of our Academy. The reason that we created this petition is to show overwhelming support we have for Dr. Ruff and to voice our desire to keep him as our Dean of Academics and Student Life, seeing that he was attempting to protect his students.”

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STEM is a prestigious school that specializes in science, technology, engineering and math.

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