Outraged parents addressed the Deer Valley School Board on Tuesday after a juvenile video of Boulder Creek High School Principal Lauren Sheehan and Vice Principal Jay Kopas as President Donald Trump and Trump spokesperson Kellyanne Conway went viral.
In the video, Sheehan, as Kellyann Conway, and Kopas, dressed as Trump, deliver an insulting diatribe.
“OK men and you girls, we’re here to make Boulder Creek great again! We’re going to drain the jungle and make Boulder Creek great again,” begins Kopas. “We will build the wall around our border and keep those moron parents and weak and loser students out!”
“They can come in and when they come in we’re going to vet them. Before those stupid students come in we’re going to vet them and their parents. We are going to make sure they are tough,” said Kopas with a nodding Sheehan at his side. “If they screw up, we’re going to ship them back. It’ll be amazing. We will not let things get out of control. Believe me.”
“Any good students or staff leave, we will make it tough for them and their lives will be a total disaster. If they’re athletic, we will break their kneecaps. Who wants those lightweights anyway? They are zeroes.”
Sheehan interrupts the bizarre performance with one of her own.
Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting began with recognition of more than 50 students and staff for awards and accomplishments. While the subject was not on the Governing Board’s agenda, public pressure forced a Call to the Audience early in the meeting.
Kopas’ wife offered a heartfelt plea on her husband’s behalf. She stated wearily, “I did not want to come to the Board meeting tonight. I had no plans because I don’t need any more reminders that my husband and the principal made a huge mistake in uploading that video to the Internet. But when I got home from work, to find out that they had both received emails, phone calls, and death threats, I change my mind. I’m sorry, but as a teacher-librarian, I need to take a moment for a commercial break: are there any students here? I know that we preach to you not to put anything on the Internet, or social media that you don’t want the world to see. Let these administrators be an example of the consequences.”
“After the meeting, where this video was shown, they had the most positive responses to any meeting ever because staff members knew that the staff member, who portrayed the president, was a supporter of his. The other was a supporter of another candidate, but they work together well. Their politics do not make a difference. They tease each other and they work together. They had a positive response – teachers were asking for copies of the video because they wanted to show their spouse. They were asked for copies so people could see what everyone was laughing about. Staff members wanted to know why they didn’t get a copy of it. The only complaint was from a staff member. Now we have two administrators, with 30 years each devoted to education, sitting at home getting death threats,” stated Kopas.
Parent after parent came before the Board to express their disgust with the video. A surprising number of parents discussed discipline issues at the school including drugs and harassment of students.
Although Kopas said the duo would not let things get out of control, according to the parents’ comments, it is too late. While parents were only allowed one minute and a half to speak, they had much to say on the subject.
A parent of an incoming student to Boulder Creek stated that he had heard several rumors about the school, but had dismissed them. “The lack of good educational experience, drugs being sold, consumed on the campus and other various things. But they were just rumors. Now,” he said, “after seeing this video I could no longer dismiss all the rumors. The lack of professionalism by the principal; the person in charge of the school, the one person who sets the standards and – I have to ask: how do we expect students to react when they see this video? And wonder if they too can get away with disrespecting people. This show a total lack of all the morals students have been taught in the lower grades. If you as a governing board let this pass without doing anything about it this board does nothing about this than you are just as derelict of duty as the staff involved in the video.”
Kristi Castillo, whose family recently moved to the area, told the Board, “My family and I moved over the summer to Arizona, and one of the reasons we selected Anthem was because the comments we had heard about this community and the schools here. So it was very disappointing to see that the first time I see our school on the news is because of negative press. So my question to you is: with the effort, time, and money that was spent on something like this – I’d like to ask why – or if – there is an effort that is going towards weed. The smell of marijuana in the restrooms. My child says he tries not to use the restrooms so that he does not smell it. And then also seeing students making out in the hallway. Is there some type of effort that is going towards avoiding that or stopping that?”
“This principal has been entrusted to deliver a secular and politically unaffiliated education to all the students she has been entrusted with,” stated a mother. “She failed to do that, and that is the beginning, the middle, and the end of the discussion. By posting the video that they did, by having the video – whether it was intended to be seen by everyone or not – they have segregated, they have isolated any conservative student. That is emotional abuse to those students. How can they feel safe in that environment and not bullied when the person in the highest position in power above them has made their political view point known and has engaged in political satire that has no business being produced by any member of this Board or any principal of any school? That is what you guys are paid to do; is to provide an education and that is it. If your staff needs a moment of levity then they are, by all means, entitled to get that outside of their workplace. I asked that you guys hold the principal to the same standards that you hold your students, and that is zero tolerance, isn’t it? So, that is what I ask of you. That is what your own rules demand. Because if you hold your staff to other rules than you hold your students, how am I supposed to tell my children to take you guys seriously?”
Parents were only given one and a half minutes in which to have their say. They were abruptly cut short on occasion.
“I would like to think the Deer Valley School Board for taking time to hear us. I would like to offer my condolences for the fact of the matter that we are put in this situation as a community. We can agree that we wish it had not come to this. But evidently actions do have consequences and as the School Board you’re in a position to make very important decisions, not only for the school, but for the community of Anthem. Your decision will affect the United States education. People from all over the nation are going to be you looking at the Deer Valley School District to see what you do,” said another mother in a staccato manner.
“One of my main concerns is that Mrs. Sheehan, and Mr. Kopas had not seen what was wrong with their actions. The posted video did more than just upset our community it made our district look bad. And the letter that was sent was full of excuses as to why it was posted rather than recognizing what was actually wrong with the situation,” concluded the mother.
That letter was sent out on Sunday to parents. It reads:
Dear Boulder Creek Stakeholders,
This letter is to provide you with information about a story you may have seen or read recently in local media and on social media.
Last Thursday, our faculty attended our annual State of the School meeting where we spent an hour reviewing school data from the fall semester. Before beginning this important and serious work, we attempted to use humor as an attention-getting opening. We presented a parody skit of President Trump and his spokesperson as a way to connect with this week’s inauguration while celebrating achievements of our school. Our intent was to share it only with the staff and connect the satirical skit to our work ahead for the rest of the school year. We apologize if our Presidential parody offended anyone. In no way should it be viewed as a political statement or intended to be malicious toward our students, parents, or staff.
I recognize that I as the principal of the school, I am held to high standard for professionalism and public scrutiny. I regret that this skit has upset some in our community. I am deeply sorry to anyone who was offended. I will continue to celebrate everything wonderful at Boulder Creek high school and in our community.
If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The Deer Valley Unified School District issued a statement as well:
The skit, which was made for a faculty meeting, was meant to be light-hearted and entertaining and not disparaging. The District was unaware that it was made and does not endorse it.