Nashville superintendent doesn't see way out of hot water over 'creepy' column
A Southern Illinois superintendent hasn't decided whether to resign after public and teachers union backlash to a column he wrote in which he went into lurid detail about a girl he had a crush on when he was 15.
“I’m in a pickle,” Ernie Fowler, the superintendent of Nashville Community High School, told the West Central Reporter. “It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I probably went into too much detail. It’s amazing what one sentence of bad judgment can do to a person.”
In his weekly column for the Nashville News published on Aug. 30, Fowler described a volleyball game in which he participated when he was in high school. He wrote that “God smiled on him” and allowed him to rotate to the front line, where he was directly across from the blond-haired, blue-eyed girl he liked.
“My eyes were in direct line with her well-developed assets which were hidden under a t-shirt with the word 'bullets' sprawled across the front,” Fowler wrote.
The Nashville Education Association quickly issued a statement denouncing “the unacceptable article.”
“We believe this further demonstrates that he is unfit to be the superintendent of Nashville High School and call for his immediate resignation or removal,” the statement said.
Fowler had a run-in with the teachers union in May, when the union took a vote of no confidence on Fowler. But the board members of Nashville District 99 later issued a statement calling the teachers’ accusations “baseless and without merit.”
Fowler said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction to his column given his relationship with the union.
“I want to ask for grace and forgiveness for one stupid mistake, but I guess you don’t get mulligans in real life,” he said.
He added that he is no longer writing the column.
“People tell me they love it, but I said to myself, as soon as I wrote something that offended someone I would no longer write it.”
Public reaction was condemning as well.
“What a creepy old man,” Kathy Brink wrote in a post beneath the column.
“I guess if you're trying to get yourself fired, publicly fantasizing about the breasts of a 15 year old girl is as good a way as any...” John Elder wrote.
“Impressive display of being unprofessional!!,” Tracy Darnstaedt Haselhorst posted.
School board members couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.
The Nashville News reports that Fowler earned a salary of $145,220.08 in the 2015-16 school year.