Parents in Elk Grove, California, are demanding accountability and transparency from school officials after students were exposed to a mandatory drag show performed by peers.
Taking kids to a drag show to teach them to respect gay people is the equivalent of taking them to a strip club to respect women.
— BLAIRE WHITE (@MsBlaireWhite) March 3, 2023
During an Elk Grove Unified School District board meeting on March 7, parents called out school officials for forcing their children to watch a drag show.
“They knew there would be parents who would not support this, and this is why they let it in under the guise of ‘culture,’” one parent, identified only as Amy, said during the meeting.
Parents who are speaking out on this issue, including Amy, reportedly asked local news outlet KOVR not to use their last names in an effort to protect their minor students from being identified.
Amy and the other parents reportedly took issue with Pleasant Grove High School’s mandatory “multicultural expo assembly” on March 3 — which included students from the school’s LGBTQ group performing a four-minute dance routine while dressed in drag.
Local outlet Elk Grove Citizen questioned the school about whether students’ attendance at the assembly was mandatory, and school district spokesperson James Tan confirmed that it was.
“Students and teachers are expected to attend assemblies that take place during normal school hours,” Tan told the outlet.
Amy noted that she was feeling a sense of “betrayal” over the school’s actions.
“I’ve been a part of this district since 1983, and in 30 years, I have never felt betrayal like I felt on Friday,” she said, adding that her son had felt “uncomfortable” and “trapped” during the assembly.
One of the student drag performers announced during the assembly that their dance was “a protest.”
“Our performance is a protest for all the queens and transgender youth whose lives were lost for doing exactly what we are doing,” the student told the audience, going on to introduce the “queens” about to perform.
“Our performance is for our community in Oklahoma, Idaho, Florida, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee where we are actively being targeted. Everyone deserves to love, to be, and to be loved,” the student added.
Heidi, another parent at the board meeting whose daughter attended the assembly, questioned whether the political commentary made by the students prior to the drag show was appropriate.
According to a statement from the Elk Grove Unified School District, “The show included only Elk Grove Unified students and was held in full compliance with student codes of conduct and existing requirements for on-campus events.”
“All performances at the multicultural assembly were approved by school staff and administration with the support of EGUSD Secondary Education,” the statement continued.
The statement also appears to reference the costumes being worn by the minors performing in the drag show, trying to downplay the school’s responsibility for the clothing by stating: “The primary responsibility for a student’s attire resides with the student and families.”