Student-led group rallies in support of Hazard High Principal

Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 06:45:58-04

HAZARD, Ky. (LEX 18) — A large crowd of students and parents gathered in Hazard to rally behind Hazard High School Principal Donald “Happy” Mobelini on Thursday.

Chants of “We love Happy” sounded through Triangle Park in downtown Hazard during the student-led rally.

“This is about showing our support for Happy,” one student said.


“Happy is a wonderful man. He helps everybody in need and everything,” said another student speaking through a megaphone.

As part of homecoming week activities, Tuesday was costume day and a "man pageant" was held at Hazard High School. Multiple photos were posted and then taken down from the Hazard High School athletics page.

Mobelini is seen in the school’s controversial homecoming assembly pictures where students were photographed dressed in underwear while appearing to give lap dances to administrators.

Other pictures showed female students dressed in "Hooters" costumes and students and staff appear to spank or paddle each other.

“[Mobelini] has shamed our town. We’re in shame,” said Darlene Phelps, who has grandchildren in the Hazard Independent Schools District. “When you’re at a school you have to be the better adult and set an example for these young people because if they’re not getting it at home, who else is going to set the example?”

Gov. Andy Beshear addressed the incident during a Thursday briefing.

"What happened in Hazard, shouldn't. We should have better judgment than that," said Gov. Beshear. "My hope is that they'll be public about any actions taken so that those that are watching this situation know what happens when you make a mistake like that. I also hope that they're going to have open and transparent dialogues with their students that this isn't acceptable in our modern world. We want to make sure this isn't an example that some take and repeat."

Hazard Independent Schools District Superintendent Sondra Combs said disciplinary action has been taken, but did not specify who or how many people are facing consequences.

Combs said a student activity committee is being developed to review all student-led activities and the district will provide social media training for students and staff.

“At the end of the day, the light-hearted activity simply got out of hand, and for that, we apologize,” Combs said in a statement. “In the future, we will strive to keep the lighthearted, fun nature of school activities without the inappropriate behavior.”