The principal of a Louisiana high school is taking a leave of absence after he called a girl into his office over a video of her dancing at a party after homecoming.
During that meeting, principal Jason St. Pierre revoked Walker High School’s endorsement of a scholarship for her and stripped her of her title with the student government association, according to a statement the principal shared.
“It felt like my life was over,” senior Kaylee Timonet said in an interview with Unfiltered with Kiran.
Timonet attended an after party following Walker High School’s homecoming dance Sept. 30, she said in the interview. At the party, someone recorded a video of Timonet, seen with a friend twerking. The video made its way to St. Pierre, who later called Timonet into his office and reprimanded her for the video.
St. Pierre’s response to the video drew backlash, prompting him to apologize days later. The community rallied in support of Timonet, and the slogan “let the girl dance” gained traction.
“I felt like I was letting everyone down,” Timonet told Unfiltered with Kiran. “They just kept telling me how I disappointed them. They didn’t hate me, but they were very disappointed.”
The principal now plans to take a leave of absence, Livingston Parish Public Schools shared in an email with McClatchy News on Oct. 9.
“Walker High School Principal Jason St. Pierre has requested to take leave for the remainder of the 2023-2024 school year. The district office is awaiting his paperwork to process his request.”
“Too little too late”
St. Pierre issued a statement Oct. 8 about the incident, saying he had apologized to Timonet and her mother.
“I believe it is necessary to respond to the public attention that has resulted from my actions regarding Kaylee Timonet’s participation in a dance party that was sponsored at an off-site location following WHS Homecoming,” St. Pierre said.
He walked back his decision to revoke the endorsement of Timonet’s scholarship and reinstated her position with the student government association.
“Our student government members are held to a high standard of student behavior,” St. Pierre said. “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.”
In a response to the apology, Timonet and her mother appeared in a video saying the scholarship deadline had already passed. It was due the day the principal revoked his support, Timonet told Unfiltered with Kiran.
“It’s too little, too late,” Timonet’s mother Rachel Timonet told WAFB about the apology. “I even told him on the phone conversation when he made it to us at noon today asking us to come into the office and he 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.”
In his statement, St. Pierre also addressed “the subject of religious beliefs (that) was broached by Kaylee and myself” during their initial meeting.
“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,” St. Pierre said.
When Timonet was called into the office that day, St. Pierre and the assistant principal were there when they brought up her faith, she told Unfiltered with Kiran.
“I just cried and cried,” Timonet said. “They basically told me that I should be ashamed of myself. That they were concerned for my afterlife and everything like that, if I wasn’t following basically God’s ideals, which made me cry even more.”
Many have spoken out, saying St. Pierre is in the wrong, or showing support by buying shirts in support of Timonet.
One community member involved in selling T-shirts wrote on Facebook expressing support for Timonet.
“We are seeing such harsh punishment over a hard working well deserving child that even looked up to and respected administration herself at one time and this makes a whole lot of students at that school question leadership and they are not having it,” she wrote. “None of us at this point can blame them for how they feel. The students are behind Kaylee 100% percent.”
Other parents of students at Walker High School expressed similar stories, saying the school felt “intimidated.”
“Kaylee, hold your head high!” another Facebook user wrote. “Everyone has your back!”
Livingston Parish is about 30 miles east of Baton Rouge.
Teacher with OnlyFans page says she’s leaving Missouri school. ‘It’s been a journey’
Freak accident or cover-up? Family sues decade after Georgia teen found dead in gym mat
Principals made meme with student’s nude breast and shared it with faculty, suit says
Student suspended for dreadlocks despite new Texas non-discrimination law, reports say