The 9-year-old boy suspended from St. Stanislaus school last week for mimicking Michael Jackson's famous groin grab dance move was back in class Monday.
Lenny Boberg performed the moves to Jackson's 1983 smash-hit single "Billie Jean" during a lip-sync fundraiser Thursday at the school.
Winona Area Catholic Schools Principal Pat Bowlin approached the boy and his mother at the event and told them the routine - specifically the handful of times Lenny reached for his groin area to imitate one of Jackson's best-known dance moves - constituted gross misconduct and that the boy was being suspended, said Lenny's mother, Mindy Boberg.
She said her family met Monday morning with Bowlin, the Rev. Richard Colletti and Winona's director of Catholic education, Marsha Stenzel, and was told her son's suspension will be reversed. She said she also was told Lenny will receive an apology and be able to make up any school work he missed Friday.
"They seemed to think that we wanted more out of it," Boberg said. "All we wanted was Lenny back in school. If it had been dealt with appropriately Thursday, it wouldn't have been a big deal. We really just wanted the wrong righted and for our son to feel like he was treated with respect.”
Bowlin said Monday night that he apologized for the manner in which the incident was handled but stood by the disciplinary action — a one-day suspension.
Stenzel declined to say much about the incident Monday or answer questions about how it was handled, other than to say the suspension was never intended to be indefinite, as the family first thought. She wouldn’t say whether the suspension would be lifted from Boberg’s record, as the family contends.
She plans to meet again with the family next week.
“We are going to take our time and pray about it and get our facts together,” Stenzel said.
Phone calls and emails to Colletti were not returned Monday.
News of the suspension — reported first by the Winona Daily News and La Crosse Tribune — had spread around the world by the end of the weekend.
The story appearing on websites for the New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, the Daily Mail in London and the Daily Telegraph in Australia, among others. “Good Morning America” also has contacted the Boberg family.
Boberg said she didn’t expect the immense amount of publicity and is just happy her son is able to again attend classes. “We just wanted Lenny to go back to school,” she said, “and to make sure he knows that people can’t treat you that way.”