Teacher Resigns After Appearing in Blackface

A high school social studies teacher has resigned after dressing in blackface during a student-faculty basketball game.

Greg Dougherty (search), who taught at Central High School, said Thursday he had been offered a chance to renew his contract but turned it down. He also apologized for the incident.

"I offer an apology to anybody I offended," Dougherty said. "My intent was never to offend. I was trying to generate laughter. It was poor judgment and will never happen again."

The resignation is effective May 17, according to Bibb County Schools (search) Superintendent Sharon Patterson. Dougherty has been on paid administrative leave in the meantime.

Photographs from the March 25 game show Dougherty wearing an exaggerated, Afro-style wig with brownish makeup covering his face and arms. A student also is pictured wearing brown makeup on his face and arms.

Initially, Patterson recommended that Dougherty be fired. That recommendation, Patterson said, also took into account a 1999 incident in which Dougherty was accused of making sexually inappropriate comments to female students.

"There's a pattern now of judgment issues," Patterson said.

But Patterson later gave Dougherty a contract renewal offer that would have seen him suspended without pay and barred from school property and events for the rest of the school year. He would have been allowed to return next school year.

But Dougherty instead chose to resign. He said he hopes to be teaching again by next year but said he knew it would be hard to find another job.

"I'm a hot potato right now. Let's be realistic," he said. "If I'm in competition for a job, I won't be the top priority."