St. Piere? More Like St. Unfair
- Author Andrea Dragon
- Published October 31, 2023
- Word count 759
Dance. Drama. Discipline. All of this occurred in little ole Livingston Parish, Louisiana, where senior Kaylee Timonet was revoked of her Student Government Position and a scholarship.
On September 30th, 2023, Walker High School hosted their annual Homecoming dance, where kids get to let loose and have fun. As always, Kaylee Timonet and her parents rented out a private venue to host their homecoming afterparty where no drinks, drugs, or any such thing was given out or consumed. At the afterparty, Timonet was videoed dancing by the Dj in order to create a promo video for his services. This video reached Walker High’s administration, eventually falling on the eyes of Principal St. Pierre. He then called Timonet into his office for an hour and a half, lecturing her about her choices and that he would pull her name from the scholarship running.
St. Pierre’s discipline of Timonet is insanely immoral and illegal, and yet, the Livingston Parish school board nor the principal himself have made a public statement about these situations. As of October 5, 2023, the school board met about numerous issues in the parish, but neglected to bring up the harsh discipline of Kaylee Timonet. Is her issue, like many others being swept under the rug, or will Walker and other surrounding communities stand up to the wrongdoings of the principal?
I for one say we must speak, write, advocate. Livingston Parish administrations have wielded far too much power over teachers and students for far too long. Just this past year, four teachers from Walker High School have retired, quit, or moved to a different school because of their treatment from Jason St. Pierre. If even teachers are beginning to criticize and leave Walker because of St. Pierre’s behavior, one may say it is past time for him to retire.
But what’s actually wrong with the actions, words, and choices of the Walker High Principal? For one, his discipline of Kaylee Timonet based on a social media video is unconstitutional. Based on the Supreme Court Case Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., schools can only allow some aspects of free speech that occurs off campus. Of course, Timonet’s situation differs slightly from that of Brandy Levi, however, the same conclusion must be reached; without bullying, harm, or any other actions in need of discipline, St. Pierre and his administrations had no grounds to strip Timonet of her titles and scholarship. Additionally, there are no laws in the state that permit St. Pierre to exercise this power. In fact, there are several laws in which the authority of teachers and principals only extends to that of a school’s campus, which, according to the Louisiana Compilation of School and Discipline Laws and Regulations, campus is defined as “all facilities and property within the school boundary.” As Timonet’s party took place in a private venue off of campus, St. Pierre had no legal authority to issue these punishments. According to Louisiana Law §17:416, all schools’ codes of conduct must be in accordance with the law. Therefore, despite the Walker High’s Student Handbook stating that “any behavior that is unbecoming of a responsible Walker High School Student” may be punished, the authority of the school has no grounds whatsoever to punish individuals because of their actions off school property, especially when discovered across social media.
However, the act of punishment isn’t the only illegal aspect of this situation. During an interview with Unfiltered with Kiran, Timonet mentioned that St. Pierre was “concerned with her afterlife.” As the principal of a public school, St. Pierre should never mention his religion, especially not as reasoning for discipline– the only reason for Timonet’s discipline so far. This violates Timonet’s first amendment rights. Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time Principal St. Pierre has utilized his personal religious beliefs on others, specifically young female students. In the 2021-2022 school year, St. Pierre pushed his beliefs of religion unto the Walker High Cheerleaders, preaching to them about modesty. He critiqued their off campus clothing and told them that they should have a better image for his school.
In every way, St. Pierre craves the limelight, using his students, especially those like Kaylee Timonet, to broaden his public image. However, St. Pierre’s actions must have consequences. Whether he will be fired or retired I know not. I do know, however, that he must give a public apology to the Walker community and personal apology to Timonet herself. His actions were immoral and illegal and must be rectified.
La. Admin. Code tit. 28, § CXV-1302 - Student Code of Conduct | State Regulations | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)
Louisiana School Discipline Laws and Regulations.pdf (ed.gov)
Louisiana Laws - Louisiana State LegislatureArticle source: https://articlebiz.com
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