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Principal Who Punished Student For Extracurricular Dancing Won't Be Coming Back This Year
Everybody cut footloose!
There was a time when, at least for me, Footloose — though very enjoyable — seemed a lot less like the kind of thing that happened in real life than like a too-obvious conceit for a dance movie. “Oh no! They banned dancing! Guess this hot guy will have to show them the MAGIC OF DANCE … and change their very lives in the process!”
In my defense, the plot of every kids’ cartoon back then was more or less “good guys fighting against bad guys who were for some unspecified reason out to destroy something good/largely innocuous,” like rainbows or feelings.
Of course, there actually were dancing bans. That was a thing. And there are still, somehow, people who are upset about dancing (frequently the same people, it turns out, who tend to be quite miffed about rainbows and feelings). Like this one principal in Louisiana who recently tried to punish a student because he saw a video of her dancing at a party outside school.
This all started when some busybody sent a video of class president Kaylee Timonet dancing at a homecoming party, next to another girl who was twerking, to the school principal, Jason St. Pierre. St. Pierre called her down to the office and told her that he was deeply concerned about her afterlife situation, as her dancing at the party failed to live up to “God’s ideals.” He then removed her from the class presidency and student government and revoked his previous endorsement of her for a college scholarship she was applying for.
To be clear, Jason St. Pierre is the principal of a public school and therefore has no business bringing any deity’s personal preferences into things there.
Kaylee Timonet was understandably horrified, and says she sobbed after hearing this news, worried that all of her plans for her future were going to fall apart because she danced for a minute at a homecoming party. A homecoming party not even held at a fellow student’s house, but at a local country club … with her mother and other parents in attendance.
St. Pierre, however, was no John Lithgow. He could not get the townsfolk of Walker, Louisiana, on Team No Dancing Because God for even a moment. After Timonet posted a video about the incident on TikTok, the town of 6,400 rallied behind her.
Timonet’s mother publicly stood up for her, calling the punishment a clear violation of the separation of church and state. Students staged a walkout. Parents changed their profile pictures in support. At least one school board member called the punishment “ridiculous.”
Following all this pressure, St. Pierre issued a statement saying that he had personally apologized to the Timonets, reinstated Kaylee as class president, and re-endorsed her scholarship application. Though perhaps she should now aim a little higher for her endorsement.
Just saying! I bet he’d do it — he seems like a good sport and has been a strong advocate for separating church and state for years now.
In the letter, St. Pierre also said that he now understands that “it is not [his] responsibility to determine what students’ or others’ religious beliefs may be.” That’s a big step!
Since then, he has told district officials that he will be taking a leave of absence until the end of the school year. Hopefully he decides to stay gone.
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