The National Desk | by Alec Schemmel | May 16, 2022
TUCSON, ARIZ. (TND) — An Arizona school counselor who previously came under fire for hosting a Tucson-area high school’s first-ever drag show has been arrested for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with one of her students.
On May 3, 2022, detectives from the Tucson Police Department Child Sexual Assault Unit (CSA) received a report of an inappropriate relationship between a school counselor and 15-year-old student from Tucson High School,” reads a news release from the Tucson Police Department (TPD), which identified the counselor in question as Zobella Brazil Vinik.
Vinik, who came under fire earlier this year for helping organize Tucson High Magnet School’s (THMS) first-ever annual drag show, turned herself in after being charged with one count of sexual conduct with a minor.
“The event is a student club activity. It is driven by students, not TUSD staff. This is not an instructional activity and it’s being held on a Saturday,” a Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) spokesperson told AZ Free News back in March. “Tucson Unified has a strong policy of nondiscrimination regarding gender expression and restricting the free expression of these high school student club members would be inconsistent with that policy. Participation in the show is voluntary in all capacities (performances, lighting, audio & visual, and outdoor stage set-up),” the spokesperson continued.
The show was expected to occur in early May, but TUSD Superintendent Kara Escamilla told The National Desk (TND) that since the event was not sponsored by the district, she did not have any information about whether it took place as scheduled.
Police said that after receiving tips on an inappropriate relationship between Vinik and a 15-year-old student at THMS, they began conducting interviews and served multiple search warrants to look at Vinik’s electronic devices. In the end, investigators concluded there was probable cause to arrest the school counselor for sexual misconduct with a minor, according to TPD’s news release about the arrest.
“On May 4th, 2022, detectives from the Tucson Police Department Sexual Assault Unit informed the administration of Tucson High Magnet School of an ongoing investigation into one of its counselors, Zobella Brazil Vinik,” TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Trujillo said in a statement obtained by TND.
The administration was informed of an alleged inappropriate relationship between the counselor and a 15-year-old student from Tucson High. Working with the Tucson High administration, the District administration acted swiftly to remove the counselor from campus and place her on administrative leave. Our School Safety Department immediately initiated a comprehensive investigation into this alleged incident, which is currently ongoing,” the superintendent’s statement continued.
Trujillo indicated that on Thursday, May 5, Vinik resigned from her position and is no longer employed by the district, which Trujillo said continues “to emphasize the health and safety of our students as our highest priority.”