The Perry County school district superintendent is investigating a Kentucky high school after controversial photos of their homecoming celebrations, showing students giving teachers a lap dance, surfaced on social media.
Hazard High School held its homecoming activities in mid-October, and photos of the event were uploaded on the school's widely-followed athletics Facebook page. However, some of the images drew strong reactions as they showed male students dressed in lingerie, dancing provocatively for the male teachers and staff members.
According to reports, the students and staff had a "man pageant" lined up as one of their activities. The school also had female students wearing Hooters uniforms as they performed on the stage.
'Inappropriate Student-led Activities'
Superintendent Sondra Combs said she launched an investigation as soon as she was informed of the controversial photos, which have been deleted on the Hazard High School Athletic Facebook page. However, downloaded and reshared images continue to circulate on social media.
In a statement, Combs said that the school district had to address the "inappropriate student-led activities" and promised disciplinary action against those involved. While the superintendent acknowledged that the students planned on having good-natured fun, the events "did not play out as intended."
She also pointed out that the events went against the school district's dress code, where students should never show their underwear in public nor don low-cut shirts that expose their cleavage. Combs said this incident would be a "teachable moment" as the district will conduct policy and procedure training in the coming weeks.
However, following Combs' statement, videos of past Hazard High School activities were uploaded online showing students in skimpy costumes grinding on male school staff members. These were taken from 2017 and 2018, with Principal Donald "Happy" Mobelini featured in one of the videos. According to mom Tosha Lindon, the man pageant is a longstanding tradition in the Kentucky high school, yet Combs understood this year's activity to be "the first of its kind."
School Community Rallies Behind Principal
Meanwhile, some students and parents held a rally at Triangle Park on October 28 to show their support for the principal and the students who have been sanctioned. Though some parents were upset about the photos, others believed that this incident was blown out of proportion.
Mom Hollie Layne said that she supported her son, who was part of the event. She did not see anything wrong with the man pageant because it was homecoming week, and the teenagers were "being" teenagers.
Aster Sizemore of the Hazard Independent School Board said that Mobelini is usually a "pretty dad-gum strict" principal who tells kids to go home and change if they come to classes wearing short dresses.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear also issued a statement saying that it was an inappropriate event that should never happen again. He said that students must know this should not be normalized in school.
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