ButtleOpener creator resigns as county school board chair

Two weeks after being named chairman of the Williamson County school board, longtime board member Mark Gregory resigned Thursday in the face of growing parental opposition to his leadership, reports The Tennessean.

Gregory will remain on the school board but will not serve as chairman.

Since being elected chairman in September, Gregory has been the target of criticism for his role in helping create the “ButtleOpener,” a bottle opener located inside a female-shaped posterior. He had apologized earlier this week for his participation in that business venture.

Though the ButtleOpener first drew shock from parents and fellow board members when it was launched in 2012, criticisms about the product increased after Gregory assumed a primary leadership role on the school board.

Brentwood parent Heather Carroll started an online petition against Gregory two weeks ago that had grown to more than 1,000 signatures by Thursday afternoon.

“It just became something that really galvanized the community to ask questions,” Carroll said. “ ‘Is this the best we can do for our school board?’ ”

She said several Williamson County women, including some victims of sexual assault, wrote her privately to express their outrage.

…“I am going to take this opportunity to inform you that I will be stepping down as Chairman of the Williamson County School Board,” Gregory said in the email. “Only because of the incredible distraction that has taken us away from the very important commitments that we all have made to the boys and girls in Williamson County Schools.