Threat shuts down Roosevelt High School in wake of Donald Trump piñata flap | MyWindsorNow.com

Back to: News

Threat shuts down Roosevelt High School in wake of Donald Trump piñata flap

In this 2016 file photo, Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in West Bend, Wis. Roosevelt High School in Johnstown was closed Monday because of a threat was made on social media after news broke that a teacher had allowed students to mark Cinco de Mayo by hitting a Trump piñata. School officials did not immediately say whether the threat was related to the piñata flap.

Johnstown-Milliken Re-5J School District

The Johnstown-Milliken Re-5J School District serves the Johnstown and Milliken area with three elementary schools, Milliken Middle School, Roosevelt High School and Knowledge Quest Academy, a kindergarten through eighth grade school.

The district serves 3,697 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

If the Roosevelt High School Spanish teacher accused of allowing students to hit a piñata bearing a picture of President Donald Trump gets fired, Lesley Hollywood said she'll fear for her life and the safety of her family.

On Friday night, Hollywood posted photos of the piñata incident on Facebook, generating hundreds of comments and media frenzy. Over the weekend Johnstown-Milliken Re-5J School District officials placed the teacher, Jay Moser, on paid administrative leave pending a school district investigation.

By Monday morning, Hollywood and her daughter, a 17-year-old senior at Roosevelt, had received hundreds of harassing messages, Hollywood said.

"Early this morning her dad had to contact the police. … We were afraid to even let her go to school today," Hollywood said in a phone interview. "(Officials) went through some of these threats and made the decision to cancel school. I'm sure there were also other threats going to the school because people are angry the teacher was put on leave and people are angry that this even happened in the first place."

“My daughter has ended up collateral damage because she’s a student there and my daughter. The harassment that’s happening to her is just absolutely unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it.

— Lesley Hollywood, parent who posted piñata incident on Facebook

The school district officials said classes and all activities were canceled Monday as a precaution and to give police time to investigate the situation. They did not say whether the closure was related to the piñata flap.

Hollywood said she and her family spent Monday morning talking with the principal, vice principal and Johnstown police, trying to figure out how to deal with the harassment and threats.

The piñata in question was part of a Cinco de Mayo event Friday put on by Moser's class. It's unclear where the piñata — which bore pictures of Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto — came from. Students using Snapchat quickly spread photos of the piñata throughout the school.

Hollywood, a Johnstown resident of 13 years, said she's no fan of Trump, but she felt the piñata was inappropriate for a school event. She doesn't want the teacher to get fired, she said.

When Hollywood saw the photos on her daughter's social media she decided to share them online. The numerous threats and harassing message she and her daughter received since then have their whole family anxious and worried.

"It's really surreal," Hollywood said. "It's been really upsetting. … We feel like people are trying to scare us into silence and not even questioning what happened."

She said she's received all kinds of messages from students, parents and members of the community supporting Moser and accusing her of ruining his life. Hollywood has received messages threatening to destroy her life or ruin her career.

Hollywood's daughter has received messages instructing her to kill herself, she said.

"My daughter has ended up collateral damage because she's a student there and my daughter," Hollywood said. "The harassment that's happening to her is just absolutely unbelievable. I have never seen anything like it."

While neither school officials nor Johnstown police returned calls Monday seeking comment, Superintendent Martin Foster addressed the controversy in a statement over the weekend.

"This was an incredibly disrespectful act that does not reflect the values of Roosevelt High School or the school district," he said of the piñata incident.

­

— The Associated Press contributed to this report