Kentucky high school staff members got lap dances from students, photos appear to show

Latest updates: Student-staff lap dance incident at Kentucky high school followed other provocative events, videos show

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The superintendent of an Eastern Kentucky school district said "appropriate disciplinary action has been taken" after photos surfaced showing students giving lap dances to staff as part of Hazard High School's homecoming week festivities.

During Hazard High School's homecoming week festivities, students and staff took part in a "Man Pageant" and "Costume Day" on Tuesday, according to the school's Facebook page.

Photos that were subsequently taken down from the athletics department's Facebook page showed students in underclothing giving lap dances to faculty and staff, including Hazard High School Principal Donald "Happy" Mobelini, who is also mayor of the Perry County city.

"Um. Exactly what is going on here, y’all? C’mon Hazard," Nema Brewer, cofounder of education advocacy group KY 120 United, wrote Tuesday night in a tweet that showed the photos. "Get it together."

Other photos on the athletics page that were later taken down showed female students dressed up in "Hooters" outfits as well as students and staff appearing to paddle one another.

Sondra Combs, superintendents of Hazard Independent Schools, told The Courier Journal the district "has a tradition of excellence and academics and everything we do, but the incident is being investigated and once the investigation is complete, appropriate action will be taken."

She said in a later statement the district had handed down a punishment or punishments but is "not allowed to disclose any further information regarding the specifics of the discipline" because it is a "personnel matter."

Combs said a "student activity committee" would be formed "to review all student led activities" and that all staff would undergo further training "on policies and procedures.

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Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Toni Konz Tatman said the department is "aware of what took place in Hazard Independent Schools" and has "been in contact with the superintendent, who has informed us that the incident is under investigation."

"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," Konz Tatman wrote in an email. "If any citizen of Commonwealth feels that that Kentucky’s educator Code of Ethics was violated by a certified educator, they can also file a complaint with the EPSB."

A thread about the Hazard High School events on Reddit is titled "This is the mayor of my town being grinded on by a high school student dressed as a woman," and it has over 450 comments and over 7,600 upvotes on the website.

Mobelini, the principal and mayor, did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.

Aster Sizemore, a board member for Hazard Independent Schools, said he was at the high school Tuesday but not at the event in question.

"Normally, the principal, Happy Mobelini, is pretty dad-gum strict, so that surprises me, unless someone pulled something out of a hat,” Sizemore told The Courier Journal. "A kid comes to school with a short dress, you know, he makes them go home and change."

Board chairman Ralph Butch Asher said he was aware of the issue and had not yet heard from any parents with complaints. He could not say if the event was an annual one, referring questions to the district.

Hazard High is one of three schools that make up Hazard Independent Schools and it's the only high school in the district. About 340 students enrolled, according to U.S. News & World Report, and there are 32 staff members listed on the school's directory.

Hazard is located in southeastern Kentucky, about a three-hour drive from Louisville and two hours from Lexington. The population is about 5,000, U.S. census records show.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky school's Man Pageant, lap dances lead to disciplinary action