- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2022

The D.C. Public Schools is hosting a drag queen performance as part of a pride month celebration for high school students to celebrate during the last month of classes.

The event comes as public schools in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado, New York, Illinois and other states have increasingly made drag queen shows and story hours a featured part of “family-friendly” June pride month celebrations, sparking outrage among conservatives.

Chancellor Lewis D. Ferebee announced the “Leading with Pride!” celebration at the Ballou STAY public school campus in an email to DCPS families on Thursday night.

“On Friday, June 3, students are invited to come to Ballou STAY from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. for performances, food, and resources in celebration of Pride,” Mr. Ferebee wrote.

The email includes a flyer with a photograph of an unidentified drag queen in a red dress as well as a link to an Instagram post advertising the event. It does not say whether professional drag queens or students themselves will be performing.

“Join us for an exciting celebration of Pride for Queer and Trans DMV area students,” the school district’s LGBTQ and Sexual Health Team says in a comment on the Instagram page.

DCPS did not respond on Friday to a request for comment.

But a phone call to Ballou STAY High School confirmed that the event, which an unidentified teacher there organized, was scheduled to take place in an outdoor atrium.

Proponents of inviting drag queens to public schools have presented the events as tailored to the LGBT community.

But conservative families and parental rights groups say they don’t want public institutions advertising sexualized performances to their children.

“There was a time that we could all agree that drag queens were for adults and didn’t belong anywhere near children,” Erika Sanzi, outreach director for Parents Defending Education, said Friday.

“Schools should not host any events with drag queens, period,” Ms. Sanzi added. “If a parent wants to take their own children to drag queen performances on the weekends, so be it, but this kind of entertainment targeted at children has no place in a school.”

The flyer for Friday night’s Ballou STAY event, also posted in a registration link on Eventbrite, says it intends “to create safe and affirming spaces along with educational and advocacy opportunities.”

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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