Having turned down a plea deal, former Southwest DeKalb High School chorus teacher Nathan Grigsby will be going to trial for allowing several of his male students to engage in a “Chippendales style” performance in his classroom during class time.
In 2008, Grigsby allegedly allowed three male students to strip out of their clothing and dance in a sexually explicit style. They gave lap dances, manhandled female students, and performed simulated sex acts on them. According to Solicitor-General Robert James, Grigsby provided the music himself – “Meeting in My Bedroom” by Silk.
“There were lewd caresses and gropes all in the presence of a teacher,” James said. “Under the law, if you have custody and control of kids, you are held to a higher standard. You don’t get to just turn your head.”
Grigsby was terminated from his teaching position when video of the performance surfaced on Facebook. He is being charged with six counts of indecency, and four counts of contributing to the deprivation of a minor. His trial is slated to begin in March. A judge recently granted him the extra time to prepare his case after having dismissed his original attorney. The two of them had apparently had a disagreement over his plea.
Grigsby’s new attorney, Jackie Patterson, seems optimistic.
“I’m excited about trying this case and presenting witnesses to show he had no knowledge of what took place,” Patterson said.
The students involved have come to their former teacher’s defense, according to Patterson. They wanted him to keep his job, and have continued to be supportive as this case turns toward a future trial. Patterson has said that they are willing to testify on Grigsby’s behalf, supporting the claim that he did not know the nature of their performance and should not be held responsible for their actions.
“It is no question that Mr. Grigsby had no knowledge that these kids would commit these sex acts and put them on video. When the kids started performing these acts, it took him totally off guard,” Patterson said. “You can’t hold a teacher accountable for everything a child does.”
While it is true that a teacher may not be able to predict everything that will happen in his class, it is his job to control and oversee the behavior of his students. There is no question that what took place in his classroom was inappropriate, and potentially offensive or even hurtful to students in the class who could have been less enthusiastic for the display. It is also, quite simply, inappropriate behavior for school, and for teenagers in the company of an adult. As a teacher, it was expected that Grigsby control his class and look out for the wellbeing of his students. It was also expected that he would provide discipline in the event where that control is lost. Perhaps he honestly was simply taken so entirely by surprise that he failed to respond in a timely manner, and perhaps he felt that he did regain control of the situation adequately, but this story is without a doubt troubling.
None of the students were charged in this case.