Parents of students at a California high school are criticizing the administration after it allowed a drag queen performance during a mandatory multicultural assembly in front of hundreds of students in the school’s gym.
The performance at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove, Calif., on March 3, involved six performers dressed as women who lip-synced and danced to popular songs. Some parents asserted that the performance was sexually provocative and one-sided.
During a March 7 school board meeting, parents criticized the school for not being transparent. Amy Kartchner, a parent of four children in the district, said her son felt “uncomfortable and trapped” while watching the 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,’” Kartchner said, according to the Elk Grove Citizen.
Parents were not notified there would be a drag queen show, she and others said.
“People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing,” she said. “I wish I was more hopeful that you have the courage to stand for anything related to my parental rights.”
The California Family Council posted a video of the drag queen performance.
“Our performance is a protest for all of the queens and transgender youth whose lives were lost doing exactly what we’re doing right now,” a member of the drag queen performance tells students in the video. “Our performance is for our community in Oklahoma, Idaho, Florida, Arizona, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kansas, Alabama and Tennessee – we’re actively being targeted. … Our drag is an expression of us, our love and our community.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity to be loud, be proud,” the performer said.
Heidi Moore, another parent, asked the school board, “So, are we allowing political protests in our schools or is it just for certain groups?”
Parent Elda Ortiz told the school board that students should have been allowed to choose not to attend the assembly.
Some parents asserted that the performance treaded on parental rights.
“Christian students and those of other religions shouldn’t be forced to sit through a sexualized, drag queen protest performance,” parent Elda Ortiz told board members, according to the Elk Grove Citizen. “Parents and students should have been warned and given the opportunity to opt-out …The goal was to be inclusive, right? Well, people of faith do not feel heard or respected when the school district takes it upon themselves to approve such performances.”
A school district spokesperson said the assembly was mandatory.
“Students and teachers are expected to attend assemblies that take place during normal school hours,” the spokesperson said.
The six dancers were members of the school’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA).
The school’s principal said the performance was approved by administrators.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/SeventyFour
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.