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 Tuesday as part of a high school’s homecoming week.
Sondra Combs, superintendent of Hazard Independent Schools, did not specify who had been punished.
“As it is a personnel matter, we are not allowed to disclose any further information regarding the specifics of the discipline,” her statement said.
Combs said students were behind the homecoming festivities that included a “man pageant” and led to photos of students giving lap dances in their undergarments being shared on social media.
The photos were initially posted to the “Hazard High School Athletics” Facebook page, but that post was later deleted. Among them was a photo showing a student dancing in front of the high school’s principal, Donald “Happy” Mobelini, who is also mayor of the Perry County city. Screenshots have continued to circulate on social media.
Other photos on the athletics page that also were taken down showed female students dressed in “Hooters” outfits and students and staff appearing to paddle one another.
Mobelini, the principal and mayor, did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.
Earlier Wednesday, Combs 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.”
“Using this as a teachable moment, we will provide social media training for our students and staff,” Combs wrote in her later statement.
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.”
Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Toni Konz Tatman said Wednesday that it 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.”
Hazard High is one of three schools that make up Hazard Independent Schools. It is the only high school in the district and there are about 340 students enrolled, according to U.S. News & World Report. 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.