A High School principal in Washington state has been placed on administrative leave after suggesting Kobe Bryant deserved to die following his January 26 helicopter crash.
According to CNN, Liza Sejkora, the principal of Camas High School, took to her Facebook page after Byrant’s death and shared: “Not gonna lie. Seems to me that karma caught up with a rapist today.” She added a shrug emoji at the end of the post.
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The post has since been deleted. It, however, appeared Sejkora doubled down on her previous sentiments by following up with another post saying: “You are free to judge me for the post just as I am free to judge the person the post was about.”
Bryant was entangled in a sexual assault case in 2003 that was leveled against him by a then 19-year-old female. Bryant, however, denied the rape accusation, claiming the sex was consensual. The case was later dropped out of court after the accuser refused to testify. She subsequently reached a settlement with Bryant in a civil lawsuit.
Following backlash and threats, the school district superintendant, in a statement on Tuesday, announced Sejkora has been placed on administrative leave while the district investigates her Facebook post, We Are Iowa reports.
Sejkora, who has been principal at Camas High School for over two years, also issued a statement outside the school Tuesday.
“As a career educator, the only adult job I’ve ever had for 22 years, we try to teach kids to think before they act, think before they speak, think before they post. I clearly didn’t in this situation,” she said.
“I heard reports that Kobe Bryant had passed, just a visceral reaction to it. Posted quickly before I had any additional information.”
She also issued an apology to the school staff as well as students and parents. The letter read:
You may be aware that a copy of a social media post I made on my personal Facebook page is circulating digitally in our community. Today, I apologized to my staff, and now I apologize to you.
On January 26 after news broke Kobe Bryant’s death, I made a comment to my private social media which was a personal, visceral reaction. I want to apologize for suggesting that a person’s death is deserved. It was inappropriate and tasteless. Further, I apologize for the disruption it caused to our learning environment today.
In education, we remind students to think before they post online, especially when feelings are inflamed. We also teach our students about context. My emotions and past experiences got the best of me in that moment. We also teach our students that what we share online has permanency.
While what I wrote was posted on a private Facebook account to people who are my friends and was quickly removed, I acknowledge that private does not always mean private. I love being principal at Camas High School. We have tremendous students, staff, and community. I’ve learned an important lesson and I hope that I can earn your trust back.
In the aftermath of the incident, some students who spoke to We Are Iowa accused Sejkora of painting the school black.
“It’s just really insensitive. There’s no real position for her to say that. Especially when she’s in such a place of power that she is right now. She represents the school and that’s how everyone’s gonna see this town and this school,” one student said.
Another added: “Saying things, you should watch what you post because you know you might get backfire and that’s what happened in this situation. It just backfired pretty hard.”
Speaking to KATU about the Facebook post, Sejkora said: “I have some personal experience that generated the visceral reaction. This was a situation where I didn’t think before I posted, and I’m terribly regretful about that.”
Others, including a Camas High School Senior are, however, not buying her apology. The student, who believes public figures should set exemplary standards, wants Sejkora to resign.
“Honestly, I think she should step down, personally,” he said. “Those types of things, you just really can’t be saying that.”