Lithonia (Ga.) High is looking for a new boys basketball coach. The search became necessary after the school’s previous coach, Barry Browner, was fired on Friday for one of the strangest reasons imaginable: He allowed a Harlem Shake video to be filmed in his classroom.
As reported by Atlanta TV network WSB-TV, Browner was terminated after a video featuring the coach and the students in one of his classes emerged on YouTube. In the video, an unidentified student jumps on top of a classroom table and begins gyrating in a style typically used to start off the viral Harlem Shake videos that exploded on the web in March and April.
At first, Browner appears to lash out at the student, emploring him to sit down and stop acting out. Instead -- in a move more telegraphed than a Michael Bay plot -- the other students in the class hop up on top of the tables and begin Harlem shaking, too.
About a minute into the video, Browner can be seen dancing along happily, taking part in a viral video trend that had long since swept the nation.
While the entire video seems innocent enough, it has sparked outrage at both its very existence and the punishment it engendered by different groups of DeKalb County residents. While some were quick to say that dancing like that performed in Harlem Shake videos belongs nowhere near a school, others accused the Lithonia administration of taking the entire incident a bit too seriously.
Two of those opposing viewpoints were juxtaposed back-to-back in a WSB video piece detailing the coach’s discipline.
“We have a classroom setting,” DeKalb county resident Eric Lockett told the TV network. “We have a bunch of students acting like savages, dancing on top of the desks and we have the teacher acknowledging that and participating in it.
“It’s the teacher’s responsibility to keep order in the classroom. He has to lead by example and he wasn’t leading by example."
Fellow DeKalb county resident Keith McDaniel had a different take on the incident.
“I think the problem is people overreact to everything. You know, it’s too much overreaction. I think DeKalb County has more problems to worry about than kids dancing in the classroom.”
There’s no word on the official reason for Browner’s termination, though it has been noted that no students who took part in the dancing outburst were penalized in any way for their involvement. Equally, it’s worth mentioning that there was no determination of why the students were allowed to film the Harlem Shake in the classroom.
Either way, further information appears to have come to late to save Browner from recriminations related to the fun-loving incident, whether that is truly fair or not.