A series of Facebook posts and images on the Hazard High School Athletics Facebook page have been deleted after parents expressed concern over the actions of teenage boys dancing provocatively near school leaders, including the school principal reports USA Today.
Principal of the school, Donald “Happy” Mobelini, also the Mayor of Perry County City, was one of the school leaders who received a dance. Officials across the state, including Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman and Governor Andy Beshear have been contacted, and the Superintendent of Hazard Independent Schools is involved in an investigation.
The Lap Dance
The incident occurred at a high school event, and included some students that dressed up like women while faking lap dances with the school leaders. All parties appeared to be having fun with the event. Also included in the event were a few female students wearing Hooters T-shirts and performing their own routines, routines that did not include lap dances.
The event was a school assembly called “Man Pageant” and “Costume Day" to celebrate Homecoming week. An investigation has been launched, and leadership is expected to be disciplined.
The investigation was triggered by upset parents seeing pictures of the dances on Facebook.
Officials Get Involved
Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman for Kentucky has issued a statement to the press.
“I have seen reports, but I will tell you that the Department of Education has been in talks with the officials at Hazard. I know there is an investigation ongoing. My hope is that we can work together to get to the bottom of it and…have the results that fit what the findings are.”
The Superintendent of the district has said that disciplinary action will occur, reports WKYT.
Parents and Education Advocates Respond
Parents are hoping that the leaders in question are disciplined. The situation has been brought to the attention of KY 120, an education advocacy group. Its cofounder, Nema Brewer, tweeted, “Um. Exactly what is going on here, y’all. Get it together.”
Sondra Combs, superintendent of Hazard Independent Schools said the district had a tradition of excellence and academics, “the incident is being investigated and once the investigation is complete, appropriate action will be taken.”
The district has reportedly handed down disciplinary action to the school officials involved, but the superintendent is saying due to confidentiality with personnel matters, the details of that disciplinary action will not be revealed.
That will likely not sit well with the parents that launched the investigation.
Student Activity Committee is Formed
One result of the complaint is the launching of a new student activity committee, according to the superintendent. This committee will review all activities led by students, and staff at the school and in the district will undergo additional training on district policy.
A spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Education has issued a statement. Toni Konz Tatman said that the state's Department of Education is aware of what happened, and has been in contact with the superintendent.
The Department of Education also wrote in an email,
“Kentucky law provides that school district superintendents are required to report instances of educator misconduct to the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). Therefore, if the investigation finds a certified educator likely violated the Kentucky Educator Code of Ethics, the superintendent is required to report this to the EPSB for potential action. If any citizen of Commonwealth feels that Kentucky’s Educator Code of Ethics was violated by a certified educator, they can also file a complaint with the EPSB.”
This invites parents and other members of the community to make formal complaints about educators in the school district. With the investigation going public, the outcomes for school officials could be released as well.