A Kentucky high school is in the national spotlight this week after photos of a recent homecoming celebration showing students giving lap dances to faculty and staff – including the principal, who is also mayor of the city – went viral.
The pics were shared with the Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, Thursday after Hazard Independent Schools district announced Wednesday it had launched an investigation into this year’s homecoming celebration at Hazard High School that included a “Man Pageant” and led to photos being posted on the school’s Facebook page of students giving lap dances in their undergarments to adults, including principal and Hazard mayor Donald “Happy” Mobelini.
Superintendent Sondra Combs would not say who has been punished and how. She said students were behind the “homecoming festivities,” and described the events as an isolated incident.
But the Courier Journal has since dug up past video of similar skits that were performed at the school.
One video, first posted on Instagram in October 2017 then shared again in January 2018, shows one male student — dressed in a bra, shorts and wig — grinding on two other male students who sat in chairs in the middle of the gym, while a fourth student simultaneously throws a wad of what looks like cash into the air. Another video shows a male student in a long white dress and wig dancing to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” in the middle of the school gym. The student repeatedly rolls around on the floor and crawls toward the crowd. During the skit, the student approaches Principal Donald “Happy” Mobelini and rubs his hands over Mobelini’s head and chest. As the skit continues, the video shows Mobelini clapping his hands to the beat of the music.
According to Tosha Lindon, a mother whose son attends Hazard High, the “Man Pageant” has been a longstanding homecoming tradition. Yet, Superintendent Combs described this year’s celebration as the first of its kind.
“We strive to foster creativity in our students, but unfortunately, this time it was carried too far,” Combs said in an emailed statement Wednesday evening.
Gov. Andy Beshear responded to the recent photos during his Thursday press briefing, calling what happened “totally unacceptable” and “inappropriate.” The district and state leadership “need to take appropriate action and ensure that this will never happen again,” he said.
Additionally, Beshear said adults at the school were rightfully criticized for letting it go on and district leadership should “make sure that we’re raising our kids right about what is and is not acceptable, especially in the world that we live in.”
The results of the district’s investigation and what punishments are given should be made public, he added.
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