The Wisconsin school superintendent who was shoved by a father who rushed the stage during a high school graduation ceremony was called by the parent’s lawyer offering ‘remorse’ for his actions, DailyMail.com can reveal.

But Baraboo Superintendent Rainey Briggs is not in a forgiving mood.

In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Briggs said he isn’t ready to forgive the actions that shattered a joyous occasion for the entire graduating class and their families.

‘An apology just doesn’t make things go away,’ Briggs said during the interview at his home.

Briggs has yet to speak with the father Matt Eddy since the May 31 confrontation, when the irate dad pushed Briggs aside to stop him from shaking hands with his daughter as she was about to receive her diploma.

In an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Briggs revealed how he’s feeling following shattered a joyous occasion for the entire graduating class and their families

Matt Eddy, 49, told police he stopped his daughter from shaking superintendent Rainey Briggs' hand because he slighted her during a meeting

Matt Eddy, 49, told police he stopped his daughter from shaking superintendent Rainey Briggs’ hand because he slighted her during a meeting

Eddy, 49, was escorted out of the building following the confrontation and arrested for disorderly conduct. Briggs has since obtained a restraining order preventing Eddy from having any further contact with him.

But on Monday night, Eddy’s lawyer called Briggs, apparently trying to smooth things over.

‘I haven’t heard directly from Mr. Eddy, but I did have a phone call yesterday with his attorney,’ Briggs revealed.

‘The outreach was really to indicate that he, Matthew, understands his mishap in terms of what he did, what he’s caused. He’s remorseful.’

‘I took that as some form of apology, but that’s not something I think at this time amounts to a solid apology from my perspective,’ he said.

And even so, even a direct, explicit apology wouldn’t make things right.

‘I don’t think an apology, an “I’m sorry” makes this go away because there’s a lot of harm that was caused. 

‘My heart goes out to, number one, his daughter, and to those 250 other students that were in the space. This is a moment in time for them that they’ll never get back the way they had hoped for this to go.

‘That was to walk across that stage with excitement, feeling like they’ve learned a lot, feeling like they’d experienced some amazing teachers. That was all to some degree pushed aside that particular night.’

A scene from Monday’s Baraboo school board meeting, where board members read aloud a statement condemning Matt Eddy’s actions in disrupting the May 31 high school graduation ceremony

A scene from Monday’s Baraboo school board meeting, where board members read aloud a statement condemning Matt Eddy’s actions in disrupting the May 31 high school graduation ceremony

The reason for the confrontation remains unclear. Eddy spoke during a police interview about the school expelling his daughter and blamed school officials for her treatment.

But Eddy, who is white, only targeted Briggs, the one black administrator among several on the stage, leading many observers to speculate that race was a factor.

Briggs told DailyMail.com he doesn’t know if race was a factor’

‘The optics don’t look good,’ Briggs said. ‘The optics are what people around the world have gotten to see. And it’s caused them to formulate in their minds what was behind this situation.

‘But ultimately, Mr. Eddy is the only one that could tell you whether it was racial or not’

And he repeated his assertion that he didn’t recognize Eddy when he came charging.

‘I have not personally had any interactions with him,’ the school’s chief said. ‘I wouldn’t have been able to pick this guy out of any crowd. It wasn’t until after that I was able to pull his name up in the system to see who this was.’

Briggs said this was the most serious of several threats he’s received since becoming superintendent in a predominantly white school district. Of the nearly 3,000 students, he estimated that only about 3 to 4 percent are Black.

He was hired in July 2021 at around the same time the district settled a lawsuit filed by the family of a black student claiming she had undergone years of racial harassment in her schools.

‘There was a message the day before I started that the case was settled,’ Briggs told DailyMail.com.

'I didn’t want him to be able to shake her f*****g hand because he did not deserve it after all the s**t she went through in this district,' Eddy told police

‘I didn’t want him to be able to shake her f*****g hand because he did not deserve it after all the s**t she went through in this district,’ Eddy told police

Eddy was escorted out of the building following the confrontation and arrested for disorderly conduct

Eddy was escorted out of the building following the confrontation and arrested for disorderly conduct

The Baraboo School Board is thinking about how to move forward following the disruption to graduation that has caught national attention

The Baraboo School Board is thinking about how to move forward following the disruption to graduation that has caught national attention

In 2018, the district made news when a virtually all-white group of 60 Baraboo junior prom kids were photographed giving what appeared to be giving a Nazi white power hand salute. Students and the photographer disputed this, saying they were merely waving goodbye to their parents.

During his tenure, Briggs said he’s been subjected to nearly a half dozen specific threats, mostly from parents, some racially motivated, others not.

Shortly after starting, he said a resident confronted him in a local park yelling at him for the district’s mask policy during COVID.

‘There’s been phone calls, there’s been Facebook messages to my personal account where there’s been threats. Threats like, “We’re coming for you,” things of that nature. I’ve always sent on to the police department in Baraboo.’

But Briggs, a married father of three, said these incidents don’t point to a widespread problem in the district.

‘It’s a predominantly white school district,’ he said. ‘Do I think it’s consisting of students of color feeling like they don’t belong here? I think there are some pockets of that, possibly.

‘That’s part of my job is making sure that’s not the case, making sure there’s professional development of staff, making sure there’s a sense of belonging for every kid in this district and staff in this district, regardless of their race.’

At a school board meeting Monday night, members of the board stood up to read aloud their statement condemning Eddy’s actions and defending the superintendent.

Two Baraboo police officers attended to keep the peace should there be any more flareups, but weren’t needed.

Briggs did not attend, but said he has no intention of stepping down from his leadership role.

While Briggs said he’d never met Eddy, Eddy suggested otherwise in his interview with police.

Video of Eddy’s interview obtained by DailyMail.com, showed Eddy claimed he felt Briggs slighted his daughter during a prior meeting and that he was unworthy of shaking her hand.

‘I didn’t want him to be able to shake her f*****g hand because he did not deserve it after all the s**t she went through in this district,’ Eddy said.

‘The way he acted when my daughter was charged, almost charged, was a bunch of b******t… he shook his head and rolled his f*****g eyes.’

It is unclear what incident Eddy’s daughter was involved in, but he alluded to some trouble with other students that led to her expulsion.

‘She was expelled for doing the same thing that was done to her… there was a meeting with him,’ Eddy said.

‘He was rolling his eyes when I brought up the fact that the same thing had been done to her and it p****d me off because we’re in the middle of a court case.’

The father claimed that is was Briggs who initiated the physical contact.

‘I didn’t touch him until he touched me,’ he said.

However, surveillance footage shows that when Eddy jumped on stage he grabbed Briggs arm and walked him towards the curtain.

The father told police his daughter had been involved in trouble at school and felt Briggs reaction was disrespectful as they are in some kind of legal battle

The father told police his daughter had been involved in trouble at school and felt Briggs reaction was disrespectful as they are in some kind of legal battle

Eddy denied pre-planning the episode and told police he even walked out when Briggs gave his speech.

At the start of the nearly two-minute-long interaction, Eddy is seen with his arms crossed and pacing by the bleachers.

As his daughter moves through the procession, Eddy rushed in front of the stage, clapping for his daughter, then leapt over the steps to reach Briggs.

After pulling the superintended to the back, the two men exchange words then Briggs pushes Eddy away.

That is when Baraboo High School principal Steve Considine, seen wearing a tan jacket, inserts himself between the two men.

‘When I hear Dr. Briggs say something to the effect of “get your hands off of me…” that’s when I turned my head and see there was some sort of scuffle,’ said Considine.

‘That’s when I went in front and inserted myself between Dr. Briggs and this guy, Mr. Eddie, I don’t know his name, and then he was pushing back against me.’

‘If he would have just ran away, I wouldn’t need to, but he was definitely pushing back almost like he was trying to get at Dr. Briggs.’

Several others join in on breaking up the confrontation and Eddy goes behind the stage curtain.

‘[We] kind of cornered him so he really couldn’t go anywhere, so he tried to lift up the curtain, there were gymnastics mats underneath, so he scurried out,’ Considine said.

‘I was very mad. It’s a special ceremony for a special night. Dr. Briggs did not deserve that, the student did not deserve that, we have a lot of people in the gym, I was very frustrated.’

‘The guy was very aggressive, it was disgusting behavior,’ he said.

Briggs has filed a restraining order against Eddy and Dane County Circuit Court Commissioner J. Alberto Quiroga has since temporarily ordered Eddy to have no contact with Briggs until a hearing on June 14.

In his restraining order, Briggs stated Eddy said he is ‘not going to touch my (expletive) daughter.’

The superintendent told police he did not know who the man was at the time.

He said he knew of one instance where Eddy’s daughter had been disciplined by the school, but that he had nothing to do with it, insisting he ‘has no idea why Eddy reached the way he did.’

Briggs and the school board have been under fire by a group of outraged residents.

They are currently trying to recall school board president Kevin Vodak, who was at the graduation.

Vodak has been accused of favoritism and providing inadequate pay and support for teachers.

Briggs has been criticized for his salary and those of other administrators, while contracts awarded to his consulting firms have also come under scrutiny.

Critics also pointed to a high turnover of staff during his tenure and student behavior problems.

The father claimed that is was Briggs who initiated the physical contact, however surveillance footage shows he touched the superintendent when he jumped on stage

The father claimed that is was Briggs who initiated the physical contact, however surveillance footage shows he touched the superintendent when he jumped on stage

The school district said in a statement: ‘Our primary focus remains on celebrating the achievements of our graduates.

‘We want to ensure that the significance of this milestone and the hard work of our students are not overshadowed by this unfortunate event.’

The district added that they are working with law enforcement.

‘We would like to emphasize that the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and community members is a top priority… The School District of Baraboo is taking this incident very seriously.’

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