State officials are stepping in after parents say they signed permission trip slips for their middle schoolers that didn’t mention anything about “adult” performers.
Columbia Public School officials are under fire for sending around 30 kids to a controversial Columbia Values Diversity Breakfast last week that was supposed to celebrate Martin Luther King but featured a 15-minute drag performance, ABC 17 News reports.
“I am appalled with Columbia Public Schools thinking it’s appropriate for children to attend a drag show,” one parent told Libs of TikTok. “I am even more disturbed that our Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary, school administrators and school board members were present and let it happen. Especially when, parents were not told their kids were going to a drag show.”
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Another parent, Tara Arnett, was upset because her eighth-grade son is nonverbal autistic.
“I will remind you also – while other middle school parents can have a two way conversation with their students about what was seen and why – I CANNOT due to my son’s disability,” Arnett said.
The event was coordinated by the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs and featured the Nclusion+, an organization that specializes in drag performances.
Video of a drag show yesterday in Columbia, Missouri. Columbia Public Schools took students there without informing parents that their child would be attending a drag show.— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) January 20, 2023
Full story here: https://t.co/aR13AKMfgp pic.twitter.com/8lmcgflGze
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said he is “calling for the resignation and/or termination of any school official who knew that they would be subjecting children to this adult-themed drag show without parental consent.”
He added, “I want Missouri to be the safest state in the nation for children, and this does not live up to that standard. We are examining all legal options.”
Gov. Mike Parsons said he was “deeply concerned” that middle school students were subjected to “adult performers” at an MLK Day celebration.
The permission slip parents signed noted “songs” and “performances” but nothing about a drag show.
The school district put out a statement that there was an “unfortunate amount of misinformation” about the event, adding that attendees are “not provided details of the performances in advance of the event” and described the drag show portion of the annual gathering as a “dance and singing performance.”
Libs of TikTok took issue with the school’s statement.
“Do you mean to tell me that Columbia Public School Board wasn’t aware of the performance which was stated on the City of Columbia’s website?” the Libs of TikTok wrote. “Worse yet, the City of Columbia has been hosting the event for years and routinely invites students and thought it was appropriate to book a drag show.”
The WE project is proud to be hosted in mid-MO, where our widely diverse humanity is valued: Columbia Values Diversity Breakfast yesterday had a great show by @NclusionPlus & 🔥 speech by @ReneeMontgomery #ForeverForward in radical love & equity. Thank you @BarbaraBuffaloe pic.twitter.com/b8TOiF1uXz— The WE project (@theWEprojectMO) January 20, 2023
A representative for the drag performers told The Independent the event was “high-brow and innocent” and claimed it didn’t include any sexual content.