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Mom defends 'Man Pageant' where HS students gave lap dances to staff — and is annoyed the story got out: 'People don't know how to keep their mouths shut'

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Image source: YouTube screenshot, composite

A mother vehemently defended a Kentucky high school's "Man Pageant" in which students were photographed giving lap dances to staff members, including the principal — and also was annoyed that the homecoming event made the news in the first place.

"People don't know how to keep their mouths shut," the mom told reporters.

What are the details?

Hollie Layne — whose son and his friends participated in the Hazard High School event, according to WLEX-TV — told the station the controversy has been overblown.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

"It has been taken completely out of context," Layne told the station. "There are only photos being shown on the internet, no videos. So, the photos don't show ... the teachers pushing the children off of them."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

She added to WLEX that pushing the limits and embarrassing teachers is part of the fun.

"If everybody is perfect, then I would say, 'Yeah, maybe we do need to rethink something,'" Layne added to the station. "But until somebody can prove that something is going on here other than just homecoming week and teenagers being teenagers, then I will support my kids."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

In a clip from WHAS-TV that appears to be part of the same interview with Layne, she added that "none of my children have been hurt, none of the teachers have been hurt. It's embarrassing to them that this has to happen at their school because people don't know how to keep their mouths shut."

The above comments begin at the 41-second mark:

Kentucky high school under investigation after Homecoming tradition goes viral youtu.be

Others adults sound off

Hazard mother Jenna Smith has a family member at the high school and kids in the district, and she told WLEX the "Man Pageant" should have been shut down when adults noticed what students were wearing.

"I think that they should have at that point said, 'Hey, I know this is a joke. But let's stop. This is inappropriate,'" Smith told the station, adding that "yes, the kids should just be kids, and they should be allowed to have fun, but is giving a lap dance or witnessing somebody else give an adult a lap dance — is that a child-appropriate activity? And to me, it is not."

Another woman interviewed off camera for WHAS disagreed with Layne that the activity was taken out of context, saying the students in the photographs were "half naked, which is almost pornography."

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Other photos from the event showed female students dressed in "Hooters" costumes and carrying glasses full of liquid apparently meant to look like beer — as well as students and staff members appearing to spank or paddle each other, WLEX reported.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Image source: YouTube screenshot

Still, a couple of seniors at the school saw nothing wrong with the activity.

"It wasn't meant to be anything sexual," Legend Goins told WKYT-TV. "It was just a joke so we could get more laughs so we could win."

John Mackslover implied to WKYT that the spectacle wasn't anything new at Hazard High: "I think that everyone's taking it way too far. Every year up to this year, I would say they're just as vulgar, as you would put it."

Principal participates

One of the adults featured in the photos is Hazard High School Principal Donald "Happy" Mobelini, who's also the mayor of Hazard, WLEX reported.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

But Layne — who also spoke to WKYT — defended the principal, telling the station that "Happy is one of the best people there are. He would do anything to help anybody." WKYT added that Layne is the "mother of one of the students pictured."

Homecoming rally causes controversy youtu.be

Unrelated lawsuit against principal

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Mobelini was accused in a 2019 lawsuit of not properly chaperoning a school trip to New York City and Washington, D.C., during which one student allegedly raped another student.

Two Hazard High teachers are also named in the suit, and a jury trial is scheduled for next August, the paper said, citing court records. Mobelini and the other chaperones have asked that the lawsuit be dismissed, the Herald-Leader reported.

More from the paper:

In 2008, Mobelini was investigated twice for alcohol incidents involving students.

The Herald-Leader reported that in one situation, photos surfaced online of him driving students around as they smoked and drank alcohol. Mobelini came under similar criticism in 2008 after police caught students drinking on the school's football field moments after he left them. Mobelini did not get into trouble in either case because he was unaware of the drinking, a Herald-Leader article at the time said.

Disciplinary action over 'Man Pageant' has been taken

Hazard Independent Schools Superintendent Sondra Combs said Wednesday evening that "appropriate disciplinary action has been taken" after an investigation into the controversial activities at Hazard High, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

But details about the disciplinary action were not disclosed, as Combs told the paper that since it's a "personnel matter" school officials are "not allowed to disclose any further information regarding the specifics of the discipline."

This story has been updated.

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