A public school principal in Louisiana disciplined a student and questioned her religious beliefs after he saw a video of her dancing at an off-campus party after the school's homecoming. A week later, he apologized and requested leave after his own actions garnered backlash.
According to the Associated Press, a hired DJ took a video at an after-party following Walker High School’s homecoming festivities on Sept. 30 and posted it to social media. In it, the 17-year-old student government president and scholarship candidate was seen dancing with friends.
The video made its way to principal Jason St. Pierre, who called the student to his office and told her he was removing her from her position with the student government association and would no longer be recommending her for college scholarships.
St. Pierre told the student she wasn’t “living in the Lord’s way” and printed out Bible verses with sections highlighted, the student’s mother told The Advocate.
The punishment sparked outrage in the community located near the state’s capital of Baton Rouge. The Advocate reported some citizens even made T-shirts that said “let the girl dance” and dozens of students at the high school staged a walk-out.
He said he reconsidered his decisions after the public attention they received and publicly apologized to the student and her family.
St. Pierre also claimed both he and the student approached the conversation of religion. “While that conversation was meant with the best intentions, 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,” he said.
While the principal reversed course on the disciplinary actions, the student and her mother said in a social media video it was too little, too late and the deadline for the scholarship had already passed, according to The Advocate.
In a statement Monday, district officials said St. Pierre had requested to take leave for the remainder of the school year.
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