Kelly Didn’t Know Skit Contents, Holds No Malice [EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW][VIDEO]
Former Natrona County High School Principal Dean Kelly did not know the contents of the controversial skit three weeks ago that lead to his resignation today, he said in an exclusive interview with K2 Radio.
"I had absolutely no idea of the content," Kelly said Wednesday.
"I got asked by one of my staff to be able to (do it); that's all I know. I put it on the agenda, that was my role in this," he said.
"That doesn't diminish my responsibility for what happened with a captive audience and my staff there; I'm not trying to dodge that, I own that," Kelly said. "But as far as me having any other role in the production or planning or content of the skit, none."
He submitted his resignation letter today, effective Oct. 1. He plans to take another position in the district, but he doesn't know what that will be. He wrote he was not coerced to resign.
The saga started Aug. 25, when the school held its annual staff "welcome back" program, featuring a skit with two teachers who parodied a "Saturday Night Live" sketch containing ribald jokes about themselves and other staff, sexuality, body parts, and a serial killer. One joke poked fun at a teacher with the comment, "In fact, I hear she let's [sic] the epileptic students do her hair and make-up every morning."
School district officials received complaints about the skit, which was seen by 215 faculty and staff, and six members of the student council.
The district launched an investigation on Aug. 26.
It also placed Kelly on administrative leave, which meant he could not be on any school property or be in contact with other school district employees, he said. However, he did work with acting principal Kelly Hornby to start the school year properly, he said.
On Sept. 8, the district's trustees reviewed a video and transcript of the skit. On Monday, the trustees met in executive session to review the investigation.
Tuesday, the district announced the results of the investigation, saying it had disciplined unnamed staff members, but did not detail the nature of the discipline. No one lost their jobs. The district also released a redacted version of the video of the skit and a redacted version of the script.
The investigation report itself is a matter of personnel confidentiality, district attorney Kathleen Dixon has said.
Kelly said he was interviewed during the investigation, but has not seen the investigation report itself.
Looking back, he said he's lost sleep over "woulda, coulda, shoulda" in terms of how he could have reacted to the skit as he sat in the audience with the rest of the faculty and staff.
"I trusted my staff who were putting it on," Kelly said. "Could I have stopped it? maybe. Should have I? Maybe. I don't know.."
Even though Kelly said there was no coercion in his resignation, he doesn't believe he's being made a scapegoat, he said.
"I'm the captain of the ship, and this happened while we were under sail while I was the captain," Kelly said. "I have to step up as the leader of that place and say, yeah, this happened and I'm responsible for it, and I'm not going to hide behind excuses of, you know, knowing, I'm not going to hide behind excuses of 'what ifs' and ''wouda coulda shoudas.'"
He holds no malice toward anyone, and he does not plan to take legal action, he said.
"I'm going to do what I think is right for Natrona County High School and Natrona County School District and Dean Kelly and that was resign my position there so that everyone can move on and take care of the 13,000 kids in the district, 1,750 of them at Natrona."