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Ky. school’s ‘man pageant,’ with lap dances and teens in Hooters shirts, under investigation

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Hazard Independent Superintendent Sondra Combs on Wednesday confirmed that she was investigating social media photos of homecoming activities at Hazard High School that showed a scantily clad male teenager giving lap dances to staff, including the principal, who is also Hazard’s mayor.

“The incident is under investigation and as you know any thing under investigation I really can’t talk about,” Combs told the Herald-Leader. She would not describe the photos.

“Once the investigation is complete, appropriate action will be taken, “ Combs said.

On Wednesday night in a statement, Combs apologized and said the inappropriate activities would not happen again. She said disciplinary action had been taken but she could not elaborate on a personnel action.

Donald “Happy” Mobelini, principal of Hazard High School and also the mayor of Hazard, who was in the photos, did not immediately return a phone call or email asking for comment.

A schedule of homecoming activities for Tuesday on the Hazard High School Facebook page listed a “man pageant.”

Photos of the lap dances on the Hazard High School Athletics Facebook page were removed, but a photo on the page of teen girls in Hooters t-shirts and those depicting male students being paddled remained on the page Wednesday morning.

Nema Brewer, a co-founder of the public education group Ky. 120 United, was among the people criticizing the activities Wednesday on social media.

“Public education is under so much fire right now. This kind of stuff is not helpful. In fact, it’s disgusting. It appears they are sexualizing young adults,” Brewer told the Herald-Leader.

She said teachers have been harassed by Kentucky school administrators for wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter t-shirt’ but she has sensed some acceptance of the Hazard incident.

“Silence makes you complicit,” Brewer said.

Hazard Independent School Board members did not immediately comment.

“We are aware of what took place in Hazard Independent Schools and have been in contact with the superintendent, who has informed us that the incident in question is under investigation,” Toni Konz Tatman, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education said Wednesday,

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

The Herald-Leader reported that in one instance 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.

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