LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Newly surfaced videos posted on social media show more Hazard High School skits in which students acted provocatively as teachers laughed and sometimes participated during the past four years.

The videos were shared with the Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, Thursday after Hazard Independent Schools district announced Wednesday it had launched an investigation into this year’s homecoming celebration that included a “Man Pageant” and led to photos being posted on the school’s Facebook page of students giving lap dances in their undergarments.

The investigation was closed with the “appropriate discipline action”, according to Superintendent Sondra Compbs. She would not disclose who had been punished. Combs claimed that students orchestrated the homecoming celebrations and called it an isolated incident.

But the new videos obtained by the Courier Journal show similar skits have been performed previously.

BackgroundKentucky High School Staff Members received lap dancing from students. The photos are shown.

One video, first posted on Instagram in October 2017 then shared again in January 2018, shows one male student — dressed in a bra, shorts and wig — grinding on two other male students who sat in chairs in the middle of the gym, while a fourth student simultaneously throws a wad of what looks like cash into the air. 

Background and logo of the gym are identical to the images shared this week. The video was uploaded by Hazard High students. 

A second video captures a student wearing a white long-sleeved dress and wig, dancing in the middle school gym to Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.” He repeatedly crawls to the front of the audience, rolling around on the ground.

During the skit, the student approaches Principal Donald “Happy” Mobelini and rubs his hands over Mobelini’s head and chest. As the skit continues, the video shows Mobelini clapping his hands to the beat of the music.

While it’s not known when this video was recorded, many students and employees were sporting masks covering their mouth and nose, which indicates that it occurred during the coronavirus outbreak. As you can see, both the logo and background on the gym’s floor look exactly the same as in the photos this week.

According to Tosha Lindon, a mother whose son attends Hazard High, the “Man Pageant” has been a longstanding homecoming tradition. 

Combs still described the celebration this year as unique. 

Combs wrote Wednesday night via email that they were trying to encourage creativity among students. 

According to her Wednesday statement, homecoming activities were meant to be “all fun and friendly but the events did not go as planned”. Homecoming is an annual tradition. However, no issue has been raised in the past.

“The light-hearted activities simply got outof control at the end of the school day. We are deeply sorry. Combs explained that they will work to maintain the fun, light-hearted nature of school activities in the future without any inappropriate behavior. 

Combs and Hazard Independent board member could not reach them immediately to comment on any additional videos. 

Governor Andy Beshear responded to the recent photos during his Thursday press briefing, calling what happened “totally unacceptable” and “inappropriate.”

He stated that both the district and state leaders “need take necessary action to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” 

Additionally, Beshear said adults at the school were rightfully criticized for letting it go on and district leadership should “make sure that we’re raising our kids right about what is and is not acceptable, especially in the world that we live in.”

He said that the results of investigations in different districts and any punishments should be publicized. 

Frank Newberry is a father of two children in the area and said that he felt “horrified” after viewing the photos from Tuesday. 

“My problem is not with the children — they’re children, children do goofy things. Newberry explained that the problem lies with adults and their reactions to it. “I want kids to be children. “But, I expect those adults who have to supervise them to be better judges than this.”

After viewing the videos, Kentucky Department of Education spokeswoman Toni Konz Tatman said the department does not get involved in local district matters.

KDE received information about the incident at Hazard Independent Schools on yesterday morning, and reached out directly to the superintendent. She informed us yesterday that the incident is under investigation,” Konz Tatman wrote. 

Konz Tatman said Kentucky law mandates that superintendents report instances of teacher misconduct.

Hazard, Kentucky is about three hours drive from Louisville and one hour from Lexington. The population is about 5,000, U.S. census records show.

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.

Contributing: Mary Ramsey, Chris Kenning and Billy Kobin

Source: USAToday.com

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