Student Punished for Dancing at a Party Threatens Suit

Principal of Louisiana's Walker High School requests leave of absence amid backlash
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2023 1:28 PM CDT

A high school principal in Louisiana has apologized after revoking a scholarship endorsement for a student who was filmed dancing at an off-campus party, though the student is refusing to accept the apology, claiming the damage is done. Walker High School principal Jason St. Pierre stripped senior Kaylee Timonet of her scholarship endorsement and her position in student government over the footage, which was shared by a DJ who was promoting his business, per WAFB. St. Pierre claimed the video filmed after the public school's homecoming celebration was inappropriate and showed Kaylee was not "living in the Lord's way," Kaylee's mother, Rachel Timonet, tells WBRZ.

Kaylee, who has eight weeks left of her senior year before early graduation, says school officials questioned her morals and whether she'd go to heaven and gave her printed Bible verses to read—all because she was seen dancing behind her friend, "being a normal 17-year-old." The student body stood by Kaylee and walked out of class Monday to protest her punishment. "What he did wasn't fair," one student said of the principal, per WBRZ. "He ruined a whole girl's life." A day before the walkout, St. Pierre released a statement saying he'd apologized to Kaylee and her family, reinstated Kaylee's position in student government, and restored his scholarship endorsement. He also since announced he has requested a leave of absence for himself for the remainder of the school year.

"I do understand it is not my responsibility to determine what students' or others' religious beliefs may be—that should be the responsibility of the individual," the principal wrote. He added that "our student government members are held to a high standard of student behavior. While I stand by that premise, I do believe that standard deserves the input of not just myself and top administrators, but also those student leaders." The message didn't soothe Kaylee or her mother. As Rachel Timonet tells WAFB, it was too late for the principal to restore the scholarship endorsement, as the deadline for the scholarship application came and went last week. "Now it's time for legal action," Kaylee says in a TikTok video. (More apology stories.)

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