High school principal put on leave after Facebook post calling Kobe Bryant's death 'karma'

A Washington state high school principal was placed on leave Tuesday after a post in which she called the death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant as “karma [catching] up with a rapist,” according to Kelly Moyer of the Camas-Washougal Post-Record.

The Camas School District reportedly took the action while citing online threats made against Camas High School principal Liza Sejkora and community concerns about the post, for which Sejkora has apologized. According to KGW8, students of the school had planned a walkout for Wednesday, but postponed it to Thursday after the threats.

In the post on her private personal Facebook account, Sejkora wrote “Not gonna lie. Seems to me that karma caught up with a rapist today,” then ended it with a shrugging emoji.

The post refers to sexual assault allegations made against Bryant in 2003 from an incident in a Colorado hotel involving a 19-year-old employee. Criminal charges against Bryant were dismissed when his accuser stopped cooperating after months of high-profile hearings, investigations and leaks about her personal life, including her name, from Bryant’s defense team. Bryant released a statement, negotiated by lawyers, in which he recognized the woman did not view their sexual encounter as consensual and later settled a civil lawsuit with the woman.

Sejkora reportedly deleted the post after an hour, telling KGW8 it was a “visceral reaction” to reports of Bryant’s death posted quickly before receiving “additional information.” News later emerged that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others — including two other children — had died in the crash.

The seats where NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant sat on the last game they attended at the Staples Center are pictured covered with roses in their honor, after they were killed last weekend in a helicopter accident, ahead of a game between Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers in Los Angeles, California on January 31, 2020. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
A Washington state high school principal is facing an outcry over a post calling the death of Kobe Bryant "karma." (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Screengrabs of Sejkora’s post would soon make the rounds, sparking a community outcry. Camas police and district officials have reportedly reviewed threats made against Sejkora. While no “credible evidence” was reportedly found, an additional police presence is staying at the school.

District superintendent reportedly sent a letter to families Tuesday explaining the decision to put Sejkora on leave:

“Our priority is always the safety of our students and staff,” Snell wrote in his letter to families Tuesday night. “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.”

Sejkora also sent a letter to school staff and families. A part of the statement, from the Post-Record:

“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,” Sejkora wrote. “… After news broke (about) 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.”

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