June 18, 2024

In Walker, Louisiana, Jason St. Pierre, the principal of Walker High School, stepped on a First Amendment landmine by questioning a student’s religious beliefs.

The 17-year-old student government president and scholarship candidate was videotaped dancing at an off-campus party following Walker High School’s Sept. 30 Homecoming festivities. A hired DJ took the video and posted it on social media. Three days later, Jason St. Pierre, principal of the public high school near the state capital of Baton Rouge, told the student she would be removed from her position with the student government association and that he would no longer recommend her for college scholarships. 

At a meeting in his office with the assistant principal, St. Pierre told the student she wasn’t “living in the Lord’s way,” her mother said, according to The Advocate. He printed out Bible verses with highlighted sections and “questioned who her friends were and if they followed the Lord,” the news outlet reported. 


Clearly, this high school principal has never seen Footloose.

Our public schools have been much in the news lately, and for good reason; parents are clawing back their parental rights to not have their kids exposed to the transgender agenda in the schools, and parents are becoming more aggressive about confronting school boards who push this nonsense – and are winning some unexpected political victories along those fronts. 

But a high school principal disciplining a student for actions taken outside school hours and off-campus is just as objectionable, especially when the action in question was… dancing.

Whether or not this student should have been dancing in this off-campus venue is a question for her parents, not for a teacher, not for the principal.

Fortunately, Mr. St. Pierre quickly backtracked.

In a statement published Sunday on the Livingston Parish Public Schools district Facebook page, St. Pierre reversed course. Citing the significant public attention the episode had received and more time to consider his decision, the principal apologized to the student’s family and undid his previous disciplinary plans. He also addressed his invocation of religion.

“Finally, during my conversation with (the student) regarding the dance party, the subject of religious beliefs was broached by (the student) and myself,” St. Pierre wrote. “While that conversation was meant with the best intentions, I do understand it is not my responsibility to determine what students’ or others’ religious beliefs may be – that should be the responsibility of the individual.”

The student and her mother said St. Pierre brought up religion, not her. The mother and daughter have also said the deadline for her scholarship application was on Oct. 3, and questioned whether St. Pierre could have reinstated his scholarship endorsement sooner, The Advocate reported. 


You can read St. Pierre’s full written statement here.

This was, at the very least, an example of extremely poor judgment on the part of a public (read that: government-funded) school official. It is for the parents, not the school, to attend to a child’s religious upbringing, just like it is for the parents, not the school, to teach a child anything involving the LGBTQIA+++ agenda, or “green” activism, or anything else other than reading, writing, mathematics, the sciences, and civics. Schools teach facts; parents teach morality. That applies across the spectrum.

This student’s religious beliefs are not any of the (again, public) school’s damn business. Nor is her dancing in an apparently legal, off-campus venue, after school hours.

Given the apparent lack of any other such lapses in good sense, one would think that Mr. La Pierre, after the leave of absence he is taking to presumably mull things over, would be able to come back to his job. One would also hope he will show better judgment moving forward. 

This seems appropriate.

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