After Kobe Bryant ‘karma’ post spurs threats, high school principal is placed on leave
A high school principal has been placed on administrative leave because of safety concerns following controversial social media comments she made about Kobe Bryant’s death.
On Jan. 26 — the day Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash — Liza Sejkora, the principal at Camas High in Washington, suggested on her personal Facebook page that the Lakers legend deserved to die 17 years after being accused of sexual assault.
“Not gonna lie,” Sejkora wrote. “Seems to me that Karma caught up with a rapist today.”
The post, which has since been deleted, ended with a shrug emoji.
In the summer of 2003, Bryant, then 24, was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in a Colorado hotel room. He was charged with one count of felony assault. Bryant admitted to cheating on his wife with the accuser but maintained he was innocent of assault. Prosecutors dropped the criminal case Sept. 1, 2004, after the accuser decided not to testify. A civil suit brought by the accuser in August 2004 was settled out of court on March 2, 2005.
Camas School District Supt. Jeff Snell said in a letter to CHS families Tuesday that Sejkora had received multiple online threats. District officials are working with police on the matter, Snell said, and none of the threats have been found to be credible.
Assault survivors and others grapple with the Kobe Bryant legacy. Speaking out has brought strong, sometimes menacing, responses.
“Our priority is always the safety of our students and staff,” wrote Snell, who will take over for Sejkora during her leave. “In light of threats to [Sejkora] and concern from our community, [Sejkora] has been placed on administrative leave today pending the outcome of our investigation.”
He also alerted families to an “increased police presence on campus” because of online threats. Nonetheless, nearly half the student population missed school Wednesday, according to KGW-TV 8 in Portland, Ore.
Although he would not discuss any potential discipline Sejkora might face, Snell told KGW-TV he did not support Sejkora’s post.
“It’s hard for me to understand it,” Snell said. “Anytime there’s a loss of life, I hope that all of us come together and rally around that. It didn’t come across that way. That’s really unfortunate.”
Some students were unhappy with their principal’s actions as well, with some planning on participating in a scheduled walkout in protest this week.
“It’s just really insensitive,” senior Adam Hoteit told KGW-TV of Sejkora’s post. “There’s no real [reason] for her to say that. Especially when she’s in such a place of power that she is right now. She represents the school and that’s how everyone’s gonna see this town and this school.”
Sejkora has issued a written apology to her students and their parents.
“I made a comment to my private social media, which was a personal, visceral reaction,” wrote Sejkora, who has been principal at Camas since 2017. “I want to apologize for suggesting that a person’s death is deserved. It was inappropriate and tasteless. Further, I apologize for the disruption it caused to our learning environment today.”
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