On Friday May 5th, Lesley Hollywood discovered via her 17 yr old daughter’s social media channels that during a Cinco de Mayo celebration at her high school, a Spanish class took part in an activity that disturbed her – they were bashing a pinata that on one side had President Donald Trump’s face on it, and on the other side Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto. This activity is said to have been part of a lesson in Mexico’s culture for the class – but none of the other 950 students in the school received the lesson, nor were the parents even aware. Kids from the school had posted pictures and video all over their Snapchat accounts, some which were set to public for the world to see.
Being it was a Friday evening, Lesley questioned this activity by posting the information and photos to her personal Facebook page, stating that she would be talking with the school on Monday. The outrage on Facebook was enormous – but it was mostly directed at Lesley for even speaking up and not following “proper protocol” and keeping it quiet. Very few questioned if the activity was appropriate in the first place or questioned the teacher. Within 24 hours the school district was forced to take swift action on a Saturday, and announced the teacher was put on paid leave pending an investigation into the incident. This sparked a media frenzy. By Monday the situation had spiraled so out of control school had to be cancelled. The harassment, intimidation and threats that Lesley and her daughter were facing by Monday had reached a volume they couldn’t keep up with, and was so frightening and severe, they were forced to have police intervene. Although many of the threats included vile name calling, threats of consequences, blame, and more, the most vile threat came directly to Lesley, stating, “Let’s just hope someone puts a bullet in your brain you attention seeking bitch. Thanks for ruining an innocent man’s life.” (the innocent man being the teacher) This same person had already sent such threatening messages to her daughter, he had already been charged with harassment by the time Lesley received this message. The school has refused to take action and either suspend or expel this kid so Lesley’s daughter can feel safe returning to school during her final weeks as a senior and graduate. This is still the case, even as he continues to taunt Lesley and her daughter, letting them know he is still at school, while the daughter has not felt safe to return. The local police are not taking it seriously. There are such major safety concerns surrounding the daughter’s graduation, Lesley fears for her daughter’s safety, although that sentiment doesn’t seem to be echoed by school officials or law enforcement. Lesley has had people drive by her home yelling at her simply because this teacher was put on paid leave. The only answer provided is the local police will develop a “safety plan” so her daughter can return to school after missing an entire week. And for Lesley to shut down her social media and silence herself. No action will be taken by the school against this student, even though he has criminal harassment charges against a fellow student and has stated he hopes someone puts a bullet in the brain of this fellow student’s mother.
At this point Lesley’s only option is obtain legal counsel to help navigate the situation and hold those who are responsible, accountable, that would be the school and this student’s family. Not to mention prepare for what may happen to her life if this teacher is actually fired. Lesley and her daughters have lived in this small Colorado community for 13 years. Her daughter, who is supposed to graduate in two weeks, has been in district schools since her very first day of kindergarten. The backlash the family has received for simply speaking up and questioning an activity at the high school, has driven them consider leaving their beloved town following the daughter’s high school commencement. This situation is unbelievable, and the school district needs to be held liable for this teacher’s actions that resulted in turning the lives of this quiet family upside down. Parents should NEVER be in fear of speaking out publicly when they have questions about their schools. It is our right and our duty.
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