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 refused to take action and either suspend or expel this kid so Lesley's daughter could feel safe returning to school during her final weeks as a senior and graduate. In addition to him not even receiving so much as a slap on the wrist, he was allowed to play in the band during Haley's graduation ceremony.. After missing an entire week at the end of her senior year, Lesley's daughter returned to school to complete her final four days so she could attend graduation.
Lesley is obtaining legal counsel to help navigate the situation and hold those who are responsible, accountable, that would be the school, the district, and this teacher. Lesley and her daughters have lived in this small Colorado community for 13 years. Her daughter attended school in this small town 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 is unbelievable. Lesley had community members threaten to ruin her business, as well as make sure her life in this VERY SMALL town is hell. Parents should NEVER be in fear of speaking out publicly when they have questions about their schools. It is both a parent's right and duty.
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"The problem is that no one follows through with holding the schools and the districts accountable. In our situation, the teacher violated his contract, and quite possibly the Hatch amendment. The school is failing to protect my daughter's First Amendment right to question her school without intimidation and harassment - even if that means the school has to remove another student. We have a Title IX violation in that the school is allowing my daughter to be intimidated out of school by a male student who is receiving not even so much as a slap on the wrist - and all this because of a their teacher, not our actions, theirs."