Texas dance teacher resigns following suspension over photo taken at ‘Dick’s Last Resort’

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

A dance team coach in Texas resigned after spending seven months suspended for one of the more banal and innocent reasons possible: A photo in which she was eating at a “Dick’s Last Resort” restaurant with a group of her recently graduated, 18-year-old seniors was posted on Facebook.

As reported in detail by the San Antonio Express-News and San Antonio Fox affiliate KABB, Harlandale (Texas) McCollum High dance coach Cassandra Rios was resigned from the school shortly after the conclusion of her seven-month suspension, which was handed down by the Harlandale School Board because of a photo of Rios with students that appeared online. In the particular shot in question, Rios and her former students were pictured at a Dick’s Last Resort restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk.

In the photo, all of the women are reportedly wearing hats with risqué slogans, though that is hardly uncommon for Dick’s Last Resort, where servers routinely make just such garments as a pseudo-hazing style charm offensive aimed at patrons.

According to one of the graduating seniors pictured in the photo alongside Rios insists that no alcohol was consumed at the dinner.

"There is nothing in the photo that to us seems wrong, and nobody was forced into this situation," Lopez told the Express News. "It's not fair to Ms. Rios that her name is being thrown around like this."

That leaves only one clear reason for Rios’ discipline: the risqué hats, a factor made even more striking by the fact that Rios wasn’t even responsible for posting the photo online; she was just tagged in the photo by one of the other girls on site.

For her part, Rios addressed the Harlandale school board to personally telling them she was heading back to her hometown of Laredo to continue teaching dance.

While Rios thanked the Harlandale board for allowing her to return, she made it clear that she was leaving in the interest of her own self respect, insisting that she was treated “unjustly” and that the school district’s investigation into the Riverwalk dinner had “jeopardized her career.”

Now that career will continue hours away, all because of a dinner which most would consider awfully innocent and possibly even gregarious.

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