A group of Pennsylvania parents descended on a school board meeting in the aftermath of a drag queen show hosted by a public school teacher who did not inform parents of the event.
In early May, video footage surfaced online of a drag queen show featuring sexually provocative dances at Hempfield High School. The after-school event was hosted by the Gay-Straight Alliance club and quickly elicited reactions from blindsided and outraged parents, according to The Daily Wire.
The school’s GSA club is sponsored by French teacher Kelly Tyson, who invited the drag queen performers.
WARNING: The Video Below Contains Offensive Content
A Pennsylvania teacher hosted a drag show event for students as part of the GSA club. Parents were reportedly not notified. The district has confirmed this morning that the teacher is on leave. pic.twitter.com/NSjkJELl6e
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) April 29, 2022
Before stepping into the contentious school board meeting, many parents gathered around the flagpole in front of the school district’s administrative building, where they prayed for wisdom and protection ahead of the assembly.
“We are walking boldly for Your Kingdom, Lord,” one parent could be heard praying, according to a video posted by Daily Wire writer Ben Zeisloft. “So we thank You for protection tonight. We thank You for safety. We thank You that Your words will come out of us, Lord. We thank You that the Holy Spirit is stirring inside of all of us and that we would give You the glory, we will speak Your truth, we will not shrink back, we will speak boldly in faith and in love just as Jesus did when He walked on this Earth.”
“Lord, You said that we will do even greater things, Jesus,” she continued, referring to John 14:12. “And You chose us — what a privilege — to live in this time. This time was chosen for us.”
Some of the Christian parents even spoke peacefully with and embraced students who are part of the GSA club.
Parents and members of the GSA club converse peacefully. pic.twitter.com/U2sRT0IyQR
— Ben Zeisloft (@BenZeisloft) May 10, 2022
Once in the meeting, several parents raised their voices in opposition to the drag queen show.
“Our schools are overreaching and indoctrinating our children, which has created confusion and stress in the most vulnerable,” said one parent, Stacey Hernandez, who condemned the school board for allowing “filth into our schools” and permitting the “exploitation of our children.”
“It’s a form of child abuse, and it’s about indecency in our schools and lack of leadership,” she added.
Another mother rebuked the school board for failing to do its job, telling district officials it is “unfortunate that it took a small group of parents to discover that this event took place and bring it to your attention.”
“This group of parents had to do a job that someone in this school should have done,” she said, according to The Daily Wire. “It is highly likely that, had this group of parents not revealed their findings, the show would have gone on and continued for years to come. That should concern everyone.”
Another mom blasts the French teacher for posting social media handles for the drag queens and encouraging students to bring money and “tip the queens.” pic.twitter.com/ca9GqCiILA
— Ben Zeisloft (@BenZeisloft) May 11, 2022
That same parent told the members of the school board that trust “must be earned” and that it has been “broken.”
Another speaker at the meeting warned school board members about an LGBT movement with a “desire to gain access to our children at a young age.”
“This movement hides behind words like ‘inclusion,’ ‘equity,’ ‘social justice,’ ‘microaggression,’” he said. “We have seen this play out across the country. We have seen in some school districts concerned parents labeled as ‘troublemakers,’ ‘aggressors’ — even ‘domestic terrorists.’”
The co-founder of the parental Facebook group “Let’s Talk Hempfield,” Meredith Hilt, also addressed the school board, telling district officials that “the boldness of these people is the direct result of the degradation and total disregard for parental rights within our school system.”
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“We’ve been coming to you for months with concerns, and we’ve been scolded for not trusting the educators,” she explained. “Some of you sitting here have even accused us of disparaging wonderful people as we looked you in the eye and tried to force our concerns. If kids feel upset or betrayed, it is a direct result of letting this go too far.”
While several parents raised their voices against the school for exposing children to such sexualized content, there were some who spoke out in support of the seemingly clandestine drag queen show for students.
One speaker, who did not turn on her camera, appeared at the school board meeting via Zoom.
“While drag shows may be unfamiliar to many in this community, they have a historical legacy and an important context in both the queer community and the fight for equal rights,” she said in support of the show. “Many of the parents who are horrified by what they believe to be a video of the show that took place here seem not to understand this. These are teachable moments, in the appropriate context.”
The woman also rebuked parents and community members for framing the situation using words like “predators” and “groomers.” She also took issue with calling the sensual performances “erotic” or “obscene.”
GSA Vice President Miguel Angel also expressed his support for the drag queen show.
“As someone in the LGBT community, and as someone who was physically present at the event, and as someone who I like to think is educated enough to make the argument, I think that what the district is doing is wrong,” apparently referring to the Hempfield School District’s investigation into the April 25 incident.
In a public statement, the district expressed its commitment to a “thorough investigation” into the issue and noted school officials would not field any questions about the drag queen show or related subjects because “that could jeopardize the integrity of an active investigation.”
“Throughout the investigation, we remain focused on the specifics of the event that drove the initial concern, which is the inappropriateness of the attire of the guests in accordance with the school dress code policy and the nature of the performance in a school setting,” read the statement. “This investigation is not an attack on the GSA Club nor the LBGTQ+ community. The ultimate goal of the investigation is to accurately uncover the facts of what occurred and how, and determine appropriate next steps. At the conclusion of the report, recommendations will be made based on the findings and appropriate actions will be determined to prevent a similar occurrence.”
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