Liza Sejkora is the now-former principal from Camas, Washington, who made national headlines after suggesting on Facebook that she felt Kobe Bryant had deserved to die. She resigned from her position at Camas High School after receiving multiple threats.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. Hours after the news broke, Sejkora wrote on her Facebook page, “Not gonna lie. Seems to me that karma caught up with a rapist today.”
Sejkora was referring to the 2003 case in which Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in a hotel room. Bryant insisted that the sexual activity was consensual. The case was dropped after the woman refused to testify. Bryant was never convicted of a crime and settled with the woman out of court.
Sejkora has since deleted the post and apologized. The school district placed her on administrative leave on February 5, before announcing that she had submitted her letter of resignation two days later.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Liza Sejkora Deleted the Post About Kobe Bryant But Initially Countered That Critics Were ‘Free to Judge’ Her
Liza Sejkora’s message about Kobe Bryant quickly received condemnation on social media. By the time she wrote it, the news was circulating that Bryant’s daughter was among those who had been killed in the helicopter crash. Critics were quick to point that out, asking Sejkora whether she thought Gianna had also deserved to die.
Sejkora deleted the post about an hour after publishing it to her personal page. But the damage was done. Screengrabs had already been shared among members of the community, including parents and students within the Camas School District.
According to the Camas Post-Record, Sejkora followed up with a second Facebook message. “I just deleted a post. It was deleted because the comments missed my intent. You are free to judge me for the post just as I am free to judge the person the post was about. Also — if you are shocked I speak my mind on my page, I am honestly surprised.”
Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell explained to KGW-TV that he did not support Sejkora’s remarks on Facebook. “Anytime there’s a loss of life, I hope that all of us come together and rally around that. It didn’t come across that way. That’s really unfortunate.”
Sejkora has since either deleted or suspended her social media accounts.
2. Liza Sejkora Apologized For the Facebook Post & Called It ‘Tasteless’
Liza Sejkora issued an apology to the parents and students of Camas High School in an email that was sent out on Monday, February 3. According to The Columbian, Sejkora wrote that her Facebook post about Kobe Bryant was based on a “personal” reaction and that her “emotions and past experiences got the best” of her “in that moment.” She described her remark about karma as “inappropriate and tasteless.”
Sejkora added that she had not abided by lessons they try to instill on the students of Camas High School. “In education, we remind students to think before they post online, especially when feelings are inflamed.”
Sejkora apologized again in an on-camera interview with Lacamas Magazine, which was shared on Youtube and is embedded above. Sejkora said that she made a “rash decision” in posting her opinion on Facebook. She explained that when she wrote it, she had not yet been aware of the “extent of the tragedy.” Sejkora also said she was committed to rebuilding trust with the students and the community.
3. Students Walked Out of Class to Protest Against Sejkora After She Was Placed On Administrative Leave
Liza Sejkora and the school district received threats following her post about Kobe Bryant. Camas Police officers stepped up their presence on campus in light of the backlash.
District officials informed parents via email on February 4 that Sejkora had been placed on administrative leave. Superintendent Jeff Snell explained that the decision was made in part out of concern for Sejkora’s safety as well as the safety of students and staff.
But that move did not quell the frustration of many students at Camas High School. On Thursday, February 6, a large group of students walked out of the building in protest. The students chanted Kobe Bryant’s name and also held a moment of silence to honor his memory. Student Kaeden Blackmon explained to Clark County Today, “I wanted to do the walkout for the memory of Kobe Bryant because I feel like we were underrepresented by our principal, Doctor Sejkora.”
The protest ended peacefully and the students returned to class.
But the tension surrounding Camas High School continued for another day. The campus was placed on lockdown during the morning of February 7 for a brief time, before officials verified that a suspected threat had been a false alarm.
4. Liza Sejkora Said She Resigned In Order to Allow Students to Learn Without Continued Disruptions
Liza Sejkora resigned from her position as principal of Camas High School on February 7, 2020. She said in a prepared statement, “Students and staff deserve to have a learning environment free of disruptions.”
Superintendent Jeff Snell addressed the community in a video statement, as well. He explained that he accepted Sejkora’s resignation in order to allow the students to move forward. Snell said that the trust between Sejkora and the students had been “broken.” He added that he did not “see a path to repair that trust that can happen in a way that doesn’t continue to compromise your educational experience here at Camas High School.”
5. Sejkora Began Working at Camas High School In 2017
Liza Sejkora joined the staff of Camas High School in 2017. She told Lacamas Magazine that she fell in love with the community during the first interview to be the school’s principal. “This is where I’m supposed to be, and I’ll tell you this: Working and living here just feels right… It’s magical here.”
According to her bio on the school’s website, Sejkora had 14 years of classroom experience. Before accepting the job at Camas, she served as an assistant principal in the Scottsdale Unified School District in Arizona.
Before becoming a principal, Sejkora taught English in Chandler, Arizona, according to her now-deleted LinkedIn page. She earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from Arizona State University.