A Louisiana public school principal has apologized and gone on leave after punishing a female student after he saw a video of her dancing at a non-school-related party.

Kaylee Timonet, the 17-year-old student in question, was showing off some of her dance moves at an off-campus party following Walker High School’s homecoming festivities. A DJ that was hired for the party took video of the dance floor and posted it to social media where the school’s principal, Jason St. Pierre, was able to see it. He told Timonet that she would be removed from her position with the student government association and that he would no longer offer his recommendation to her for college scholarships.

When he initially called her into his office, St. Pierre confronted her with the video and scolded her for not living up to “God’s ideals.”

“I hysterically started crying,” Kaylee said in a TikTok video where she recounted the incident last week. The video has been viewed over 1 million times.

Since then, the entire city of Walker has reacted to Timonet’s punishment. Her mom, Rachel, called out St. Pierre for berating her daughter for not living up to his own “religious morality” when she’s a public school student. She described it as a violation of the separation of church and state in an interview with Unfiltered With Kiran, a local news website founded by a journalist. Rachel also said many parents were present at the party, and none of them viewed any of the students’ dancing as inappropriate.

“I didn’t see anything wrong with what my daughter was doing in the video,” she told Unfiltered. “My child was not representing the school in any way, shape or form at the party.”

Several Walker High School students staged a walkout on Monday to protest the principal’s punishment. People all over social media have shared profile picture banners and hashtags that read: “Let the Girl Dance” and “I stand with Kaylee Timonet.” One school board member even called the punishment “ridiculous.”

After facing the backlash for his decision, St. Pierre issued a public apology on the school’s website.

“I have had time to consider my actions, have conversations with the Timonets, and meet with district staff,” he said in a written statement. “First, let me say that I have apologized to the Timonets and I am hopeful that my scheduled meeting with Kaylee’s mom will rectify this situation and allow Kaylee to enjoy the remainder of her senior year at Walker High School.”

He added that Kaylee was reinstated to her student government position, and admitted he had no right to use religion as justification for the punishment during the meeting at school.

“Finally, during my conversation with Kaylee regarding the dance party, the subject of religious beliefs was broached by Kaylee and myself,” he wrote. “While that conversation was meant with the best intentions, I do understand it is not my responsibility to determine what students’ or others’ religious beliefs may be—that should be the responsibility of the individual.”

The school also issued a statement:

“Walker High School principal Jason St Pierre has requested to take leave for the remainder of the 2023 to 2024 school year,” said Livingston Parish Public School’s superintendent Joe Murphy. “The district office is awaiting his paperwork to process his request.”