Here at The Root, we keep trying to warn white folks that freedom of speech doesn’t equate to freedom from consequences; but be it an ass-whooping, a vicious Twitter dragging, or a one-way trip to the unemployment line, they remain resolute on jeopardizing their quality of life—and occasionally their jaw.
And in the latest example of “when keeping it real goes wrong”—as our News Editor Monique Judge so eloquently puts it—we have Camas High School principal Liza Sejkora, who took to Facebook to openly express her disdain for the late great Kobe Bryant when she probably should’ve left that shit in her group chat.
After the January 26 crash, Liza Sejkora, principal of Camas High School, wrote on her personal Facebook page, in a post which has since been deleted, “Not gonna lie. Seems to me that karma caught up with a rapist today,” according to CNN affiliate KATU.
Bryant, the 41-year-old retired NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people were killed near Calabasas in Southern California.
The principal later deleted that post and wrote another message saying, “You are free to judge me for the post just as I am free to judge the person the post was about,” according to CNN affiliate KOIN, which cited The Columbian newspaper.
Sejkora was referring to Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case that has become a point of contention in the aftermath of his death. But no matter where your opinion falls on his perceived guilt or innocence, I think we can all agree that Kobe didn’t deserve to die. Especially under those circumstances.
For her part, Sejkora has since been placed on administrative leave and offered the following mea culpa to the parents of her students:
You may be aware that a copy of a social media post I made on my personal Facebook page is circulating digitally in our community. Today, I apologized to my staff, and now I apologize to you.
On January 26 after news broke Kobe Bryant’s death, I made a comment to my private social media which was a personal, visceral reaction. 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.
In education, we remind students to think before they post online, especially when feelings are inflamed. We also teach our students about context. My emotions and past experiences got the best of me in that moment. We also teach our students that what we share online has permanency.
While what I wrote was posted on a private Facebook account to people who are my friends and was quickly removed, I acknowledge that private does not always mean private. I love being principal at Camas High School. We have tremendous students, staff, and community. I’ve learned an important lesson and I hope that I can earn your trust back.
When asked for comment, she also told CNN (via KATU) in a statement on Tuesday: “I have some personal experience that generated the visceral reaction. This was a situation where I didn’t think before I posted, and I’m terribly regretful about that.”
Clearly aware that throwing his arms up in exasperation or tweeting “What the hell were you thinking?” weren’t viable options, Superintendent Jeff Snell instead issued a prepared statement complete with balled-up fists and gritted teeth: “We do appreciate Dr. Sejkora’s acknowledgment and will work to support her in rebuilding trust with the community she serves.”