Trump pinata sparks controversy at Roosevelt High School in Johnstown
May 7, 2017
Johnstown-Milliken Re-5J School District officials will investigate a Roosevelt High School Spanish teacher after photos of a piñata with President Donald Trump's face pasted on it went viral on social media.
The piñata was part of a Cinco de Mayo event put on by Spanish teacher Jay Moser's class. Details of the piñata's origin were unclear as of Sunday afternoon. Students using Snapchat quickly spread photos of the piñata throughout the school.
Lesley Hollywood, a parent of a student at the school, posted photos of the event on Facebook on Friday night, sparking hundreds of comments. She said she normally would have gone straight to the administration, but it already was the weekend.
"I'm starting to get a lot of backlash, but I think parents have a right to know," she said.
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.
"I think political discourse right now is so negative and so strange already that all this does … is create more divide," she said. "And I think the reaction to this really shows why this shouldn't be happening on school grounds."
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Hollywood said the backlash has her fearing for her daughter's safety. Her daughter, a senior at the school, has received horrible messages, she said.
The school district placed Moser on paid administrative leave pending the school district's investigation.
"This was an incredibly disrespectful act that does not reflect the values of Roosevelt High School or the school district," Superintendent Martin Foster stated in a release.
After receiving the backlash she has, much from students at the school, Hollywood said she hopes the school district will address the severity of bullying within the school district. Though she wants to see the piñata incident addressed, she said she has no wishes to see the teacher fired.
"He's one of those teachers who's done a lot for students, and I have great respect for that," she said.