Panty-Check Principal Demoted

Thong, Thongs, Underwear AP

A school board demoted an assistant principal who angered parents by lifting up girls' skirts at a dance to make sure students weren't wearing thong underwear.

Rita Wilson, the assistant principal at Rancho Bernardo High School, will be reassigned to a teaching position at an undetermined school in the fall, board members ruled Monday after meeting in a closed session.

"I'm very disappointed and deeply saddened," Wilson, 47, said as she wiped away tears and hugged supporters before leaving the meeting.

An earlier investigation by the Poway Unified School District concluded that Wilson used poor judgment and "went far beyond the grounds of propriety" at the April 26 dance.

Students said the assistant principal lifted girls' skirts in front of male students and adults to make sure they weren't wearing thong underwear before they entered the dance. Those wearing thongs were told to go home and change.

Wilson has said she was concerned that the combination of revealing clothing and suggestive dancing could lead to sexual assaults. "I'm not against thongs," she told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "But when a girl wearing a thong and a short skirt bends over ... it exposes her bottom."

Parents were outraged over the underwear check and at least one has threatened a lawsuit.

Wilson also plans to file a lawsuit seeking her reinstatement as assistant principal of the north San Diego high school, according to her attorney, Michael Vivoli.

The district, which includes campuses in north San Diego and the nearby suburb of Poway, could not fire Wilson because she has tenure, which guarantees her a position until she retires.
  • Joel Arak

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