Tenn. park ranger says he was fired for dancing
Deryl Nelson, a park ranger in Chattanooga, Tennessee, says that he was let go because of his dance moves.
Fox News reports, "He worked for the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, for seven years. But now he's out of a job after a woman filmed one of his dance sessions and posted it online."
ABC says: "He posted his jig online saying the rangers' moves were provocative and claiming that parents had to cover their children's eyes. Nelson [said] it was just good, clean fun."
Nelson was employed as a park ranger at Chattanooga's Coolidge Park, which is located near the Tennessee River.
Nelson says that he started dancing during his first year on the job, when he joined in with a tour group that suddenly broke out dancing the Macarena. After that, he was affectionately known as "the Dancing Park Ranger," he told WRCB.
"Let me be myself. Let me be the park ranger. I was labeled 'the Dancing Park Ranger,' so let me be the dancing park ranger."
When city officials saw the video of Nelson dancing, he was sent a letter of termination for "conduct unbecoming of a public employee."
WTVC showed the video to several park goers, all of whom disagreed with the city's decision.
"I think things have gone a little bit too far. I think each incident needs to be evaluated in its own accord," one resident said.
"I don't think he did anything that would make me cover my kid's eyes," a man said.
A Change.org petition has been created to try and get Nelson his job back. Part of the petition reads: "Levity and charisma are not unbecoming a park ranger in the context of a recreational facility, and we ask his return to this post with reasonable restrictions which your citizens can support."
Nelson didn't exactly have a clean record before the firing. WRCB reports that he was written up in 2010 for hitting a car -- and was suspended for five days in 2013 after making an inappropriate remark to a coworker.
In the meantime, Nelson says he isn't going to stop dancing.
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