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Walker High School principal 'taking leave' amid dancing video controversy

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UPDATE: Jason St. Pierre officially requested accumulated sick leave starting Oct. 20, 2023 through June 30, 2024. The school system granted his request and will search for a substitute principal to fill the position during his absence. 

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WALKER - An embattled principal in Livingston Parish is temporarily vacating his seat amid a wave of backlash from students and parents over how the administration disciplined a high schooler who was filmed dancing at an off-campus party. 

Walker High School Principal Jason St. Pierre announced Monday he requested a leave of absence for the remainder of the academic year as the school continues to grapple with the fallout of its decision to punish the student, Kaylee Timonet. The principal's departure comes just a day after the school system said St. Pierre was reinstating Timonet's scholarship and student government position.

Timonet lost her spot on student government and had a scholarship endorsement revoked after video of her dancing at a private, off-site location following Walker's homecoming celebration surfaced. St. Pierre reasoned that the video was inappropriate, and according to Timonet's mother, St. Pierre told her daughter she wasn’t “living in the Lord’s way."

After the situation received attention on social media, St. Pierre issued a statement saying he apologized to the family, met with district staff, and said it was not "[his] responsibility to determine what students' or others' religious beliefs may be" in regard to what he said.

That post prompted a response from Kaylee via TikTok. In it, she rejected the apology and took issue with parts of the principal's statement.

"I know there's a lot of people that don't know me and I saw things saying like 'How do we know she's actually a good person?' You don't have to believe me, but please just have my back. I just need support in this situation," she said.

On Monday, that support came when students walked out of Walker High to protest her treatment.

"We support each other and what he did wasn't fair. That we will always stand up for what's right and our community," said student Savannah Burgin and her friends who participated in the walk-out.

Burgin says what St. Pierre did was not okay.

"He ruined a whole girl's life that worked since her freshman year to get what she had."

Kaylee says the matter has jeopardized the scholarship and suggested that legal action would follow.

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