A former Tucson High School counselor who promoted the school’s “First Annual Drag Show,” is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.
The Tucson Police Department (TPD) Child Sexual Assault Unit (CSA) received a report of an inappropriate relationship between Zobella Brazil Vinik, 29, and a student off campus on May 3, TPD said in a statement. Detectives investigated the claim, and a search warrant allegedly “revealed inappropriate messages between the two that supports a sexual/romantic relationship,” News4Tucson reported. Vinik turned herself in on May 11, and by May 13, the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) released a statement saying Vinik was removed from campus and placed on administrative leave — she resigned the next day, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
In an interim complaint obtained by News4Tucson, police said Vinik’s ex-wife told officials they had allowed the student to live with them.
Arizona school counselor who arranged drag show for students is accused of having sex with a 15 year-old student pic.twitter.com/l2Q7AlZrGY
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) May 15, 2022
The report continued:
She reported that the 29-year-old and the 15-year-old have been co-sleeping together and she recently found Vinik’s “underwear hidden under a pillow on the bed” the student had been sleeping in…
The interim complaint said TPD conducted a forensic interview on Monday where the 15-year-old victim reportedly “confirmed she had a sexual relationship” with the high school counselor. In that interview, the victim said “that the relationship turned sexual around February 2022,” according to the interim complaint.
A March 9 report from AZ Free News confirmed Vinik and another counselor who says she is a transgender man and goes by “Hamilton” were behind the school’s first-ever drag show set to take place in early May. Vinik also reportedly led the LGBTQ+ student club called “Q Space.”
“In this space students will learn about LGBTQIA+ history, create community, and engage in individual and group work exploring identity and collaborating to discover community care and joy. Mondays 3:30-4:30 in M317 with counselors Sunday and Zobella,” the website reads.
TUSD spokeswoman Karla Escamilla told AZ Free News the drag show was coordinated by students and not staff.
“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. 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),” Escamilla said.
The outlet reported that the counselors created an Instragram page for the drag show and “invited students to access a drag inquiry form using their Microsoft Office student account.” AZ Free News noted that the original Instagram post of a flyer announcing the event was removed. The Instagram account bio still says the event is “hosted by Q Space.”
The outlet noted that Vinik had previously worked as a preschool teacher and a K-12 substitute teacher, and had a master’s degree from New York University in counseling.
“[Zobella] is working to unlearn practices maintained by white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy and recommits daily to prioritize mental health, community care, and visions for freedom offered by Queer BIPOC organizers,” Vinik’s profile stated, according to the report.
Vinik is facing a charge for one count of sexual conduct with a minor, and the investigation is ongoing, police said.