- Associated Press - Monday, October 20, 2014

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - A “welcome back” skit performed by Natrona County High School administrators included language and actions that violated the school’s sexual harassment policy, an outside investigator has determined.

The school released the findings of an investigation into the Aug. 25 skit after reaching a compromise with the Casper Star-Tribune (https://bit.ly/1vDAp0m ). The school released the investigator’s findings, but with the names of administrators and the transcripts of staff interviews redacted.

After watching the video recording of the skit and interviewing some staff members, the investigator said it was clear the skit was uncomfortable, offensive and unwelcome and constituted sexual harassment.

The skit involved two administrators dressed up as cheerleaders who made some jokes and also introduced the new staff members. The skit, a Saturday Night Live parody, included comparing new staff to sex offenders, drunks and serial killers and making references to masturbation, homosexuality and virginity.

Attorney Tracy Copenhaver of Powell said he did not believe the administrators intended for their conduct or comments to be sexually harassing, but “that was the effect of their conduct.”

At least one of the administrators was very remorseful, Copenhaver wrote.

Other administrators at Natrona County High School were aware the cheerleading skit was going to be presented, although it was not discussed in specific detail, Copenhaver found. However, another SNL parody skit was viewed by the administrative staff and while there was some talk of toning it down or taking out some lines, none of the administrators suggested it not be performed. The second skit was canceled over reaction to the cheerleader skit.

The investigation found the skit did not violate the school’s anti-bullying policy, which only addresses students, but “it would seem to be common sense that staff would understand that similar conduct would not be acceptable toward fellow staff members,” Copenhaver wrote.

Student council members addressed the staff gathering before the skit was presented and remained in attendance.

The skit was not appropriate for students, was disrespectful to the new teachers and did not model appropriate language for students, Copenhaver found.

Copenhaver said he was not asked to make any recommendations regarding any potential discipline.

NCHS Principal Dean Kelly resigned in mid-September and Superintendent Steve Hopkins said Kelly has a non-administrative role with the school district.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, https://www.trib.com

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