Missouri’s Senate President Pro Tem said he planned to meet this week with the Superintendent of Columbia Public Schools and President of the school board to discuss what led to students attending a drag queen performance at a Martin Luther King diversity event. The event was organized by the City of Columbia and included awards, student projects, Columbia Mayor Barbara Buffaloe, church leaders, and former WNBA star Renee Montgomery.
Public and private school students were there, but Columbia Public Schools has been one who has been heavily criticized for taking students to the diversity event organized by the City of Columbia. The controversy is over students being there to see a drag performance at the end of the event.
Senator Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said the meeting was scheduled for Thursday, January 26.
“My issue is much less about drag shows,” according to Senator Rowden. “I have no general opinion about drag shows, I’ve never been to one. I don’t have an opinion. I do think the problem was and the thing I will communicate to the district is the lack of communication on the front end and basically the unwillingness to take any responsibility for that lack of communication on the back end as they sent letters to Attorney General Bailey and Governor Parson. Basically, they said, ‘hey this isn’t our problem, move on.’ I don’t think that’s an appropriate response to a scenario.”
Mayor Buffaloe tells her social media followers that drag is a cross-cultural art form with a long and rich history that is fun and encourages self-expression. She also reaffirmed that Columbia is a community that supports all as she says hate crimes against drag show locations and performers are being committed in other communities.
“I think the lack of communication on the front end and the complete unwillingness to accept any responsibility on the back end is very poor form and does not reflect and help the kids that they are purporting to educate understand what it means to take responsibility for actions,” Rowden added.
He said that he plans to gather information from the resulting meeting he had to determine what steps need to be taken on the legislative level.
Columbia Public Schools Superintendent, Brian Yearwood, sent a letter to the governor and copied the attorney general, who has been vocal about the school district’s approach and response to the event.
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