Editor apologizes after publishing superintendent’s controversial column

The editor of the Washington County newspaper that published a superintendent’s controversial column has issued an apology.

Nashville Community High School Superintendent Ernie Fowler wrote in a column for The Nashville News about his experience playing volleyball during a P.E. class when he was 15 years old. He described being positioned across from the “girl of my high school fantasy world.”

“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. “It was 10 seconds of Heaven.”

The Aug. 30 column titled “Volleyball” was published ahead of a Nashville High girls volleyball game. Fowler issued an apology on Friday, stating that he would no longer write a weekly column for The Nashville News.

“It would appear that I may have offended some people with my column last week. Let me say that, if you are one who was offended, I sincerely apologize,” he wrote. “My point of view was from a typical 15-year-old boy as I tried to show the humor in the experience.”

Managing editor Alex Haglund stated in his column on behalf of The Nashville News that he should have advised Fowler that his writing on volleyball “would not be received in the way that I believed, and that I still believe, it was intended.”

He said the newspaper received comments and calls after Fowler’s column was published.

“What I am more sorry about than the offense experienced, was the negative attention that this column brought to NCHS and to Nashville,” Haglund wrote.

In response to Fowler’s column, the high school teachers union on Friday called for the resignation or removal of the superintendent.

The Nashville District 99 school board planned to have a special meeting for Wednesday night to discuss, among other things, personnel matters. The discussion won’t be open to the public, and board members won’t be taking any action, according to the meeting agenda.

Haglund wrote specifically that he was sorry to The Nashville News readers, teachers, Fowler and students.

“Students, I am even more sorry,” Haglund wrote. “I am sorry that my lack of editorial oversight contributed to television news crews staking out your parking lot, contributed to a high school day being filled with even more drama than normal, or that contributed to you being from a school which ‘that column’ was about, instead of you being recognized for your many very respectable achievements.”

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes