Principal removed 17-year-old from student government over twerking video requests leave

A US school principal has requested a leave of absence amid an uproar over his response to a female student’s “twerking” video.

Jason St Pierre, the head of Walker High in Louisiana, removed Kaylee Timonet from her position as student government association president, and revoked a scholarship endorsement after footage was shared to social media of her twerking behind a friend at a homecoming after-party.

The 17-year-old said she was reduced to tears when called into Mr St Pierre’s office in the days after the party, and forced to watch the video.

“They basically told me I should be ashamed of myself and that they were concerned about my afterlife if I wasn’t following basically God’s ideals, which made me cry even more,” she told Unfiltered with Kiran.

“I felt like my life was over.”

Mr St Pierre also informed her during the meeting he was withdrawing her application for a school scholarship – one awarded to only two students each year.

“All I was doing was having innocent fun. I was mortified,” Kaylee said.

Her mother, Rachel Timonet, told the outlet she was furious the school did not include her in her minor daughter’s initial meeting with the principal – calling the punishment she’d been dealt “unfair”.

“They had other people dancing in that video also that are on the dance team that nothing happened to. He said she was punished because she is the ‘hood-ornament’ of the school,” Ms Timonet said.

She also took Mr St Pierre to task for allegedly questioning her daughter about her religious faith.

“It’s a public school, not a private school. He has no right to discuss any sort of religion with my child,” she said.

Kaylee’s peers rallied her around in the wake of the incident, selling T-shirts with slogans like “Let the Girl Dance” and “I stand with Kaylee Timonet” and posting them on social media.

The teenager said the support has been a key part of helping her move past her humiliation.

“The video was not inappropriate whatsoever. I was just so afraid that people were going to hate me after that,” Kaylee said.

“Seeing that people were supporting me no matter what and seeing that my accomplishments were still noticed means the world.”

Following the groundswell of support, Mr St Pierre announced that he would reinstate Kaylee to her student government position, and resubmit his endorsements of her for the scholarship programs.

“Our student government members are held to a high standard of student behaviour,” he wrote in a post on Facebook.

“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.”

He added that he apologised to both Kaylee and her mother in addition to taking “corrective action” – but Ms Timonet told WAFB it was “too little, too late”, given her daughter’s scholarship application was due on October 3.

“[Mr St Pierre] mentioned reinstating the scholarship, I let him know that the scholarship deadline was done, and the damage that he’s done to her is done,” Ms Timonet said.

“I also told him I give them the opportunity when I came in there … the next morning to try and rectify the situation at that point. Now, with somebody holding his hand forcing him to do something, an apology being enforced – it’s too late.”

Many have rallied around the young student, offering support and stating she did “nothing wrong”.

“Never EVER stop dancing! You are supported!” one person wrote on Kaylee’s Instagram page.

“You did not deserve what happened to you! I am so sorry something so minor had such devastating effects,” another agreed.

“You did nothing wrong!” someone else declared.

Amid calls for his resignation, on Tuesday he put in an application with the local school district for a level of absence for the remainder of the school year, according to the Livingston Parish News.

– with the New York Post

Leave a Comment