Brown County coach fired after photo of him wearing blackface surfaces on social media

Posted: 11:19 AM, Feb 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-08 11:19:10-05
Richard L Gist.JPG

BROWN COUNTY — A coach and substitute teacher in Brown County has been terminated after he posted a photo of himself wearing blackface on Halloween from ten years ago.

The investigation began back in January when Richard Gist made the image his profile photo on his Facebook page.

The photo in question shows Gist dressed as Bob Marley.

Gist had a meeting with Superintendent Laura Hammack last week, discussing her concerns and the consequences he would face. The two also discussed a plan that would allow Gist to repair the damage he made to his image and the school district.

The school says Gist was offered the plan, which, if he completed, would allow him to return to BCS as a substitute teacher and a coach for the 2019-2020 school year.

The plan was:

  1. Resign as assistant track coach. In the belief that his presence would be a distraction, to provide a “cooling off” period for the next two steps to be completed.
  2. Participate in cultural competency training and
  3. Participate in online civility training both of which the district has pledged to implement for all BCS staff and lay coaches.

“We are disappointed that he subsequently declined the offer which then precipitated his termination as an assistant track coach and substitute teacher,” the school said in a statement released Friday.

“BCS has committed to move forward with cultural sensitivity and online civility training for its staff and coaches. We believe our role models will then be better equipped to fulfill that responsibility and provide a safe and welcoming environment to all our students and to our community.”