Missouri AG Says Schools Should Ban Drag Shows From Student Programming

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a news writer for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and business news.
February 2, 2023Updated: February 2, 2023

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey on Tuesday called on schools in the state to adopt a resolution to prohibit the inclusion of drag shows in student events and educational programming.

In a letter (pdf) sent to Melissa Randol, executive director of the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA), Bailey urged MSBA to call on its members to adopt a resolution pledging to uphold Missouri law on human sexuality instruction in public schools.

“Drag shows are inherently sexualized performances. They are an outward expression of a desired sexuality and sexual identity. They are intended to draw attention to human sexuality in a manner that appeals to prurient interests. Drag shows have no educational value and have no place in our public schools,” Bailey wrote in his letter.

Bailey also pointed to recent events which he said highlight the need for adherence to the law, including those at Columbia Public Schools in Missouri.

Columbia Public Schools Attend Drag Show

Columbia Public Schools came under fire in recent weeks after the district took a group of middle school students to see a drag performance during a field trip to the 2023 Columbia Values Diversity Celebration event.

Parents were required to fill out a permission slip for the field trip, which allegedly said that the event would feature “songs, performances, and a food item” but made no mention of a drag show, Newsmax reported.

The event ended with a 15-minute performance by Nclusion Plus, which according to its website is a “membership organization empowering LGBTQIA+ Communities to host high quality educational & entertainment events in your local area.”

Shortly after, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson posted on Twitter that his office was “deeply concerned that Columbia middle school students were subjected to adult performers during what is historically an MLK Day celebration,” adding that it was “unacceptable.”

“Parents weren’t clearly informed of the contents of the program, and adult performances are not diversity. Columbia Public Schools should focus on educational experiences that prioritize math, reading, writing, science, and history, which parents expect and demand for their kids,” the governor wrote.

In response, Nclusion Plus director of marketing Brandon Banks told the Missouri Independent that the performance was a “completely G-rated, family-friendly, uplighting, motivational, positive experience” and that there was “nothing sexual, nothing of any kind that this performance conveyed.”

“The approach we took to songs when we told the entertainers, was to offer something positive, uplifting, a song fit for a general family audience,” Banks told the publication.

Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Brian Yearwood also responded to the backlash in a letter (pdf) to the governor in which he said there was an “unfortunate amount of misinformation being shared outside our community” regarding the performance.

“Any characterization of the ‘Columbia Values Diversity’ Breakfast as ‘child endangerment’ or having a ‘sexual nature’ or violating state law is categorically false,” the letter read. “Although CPS was unaware of what the performance by NClusion+ would entail, their program was not an ‘adult’ performance. This type of misrepresentation is harmful to our students, our staff, and our community.”

Bailey has since called for the Columbia school officials who knowingly allowed students to attend the event to be fired or to resign.

‘Fight to Protect Missouri Children’

In his letter to MSBA, Bailey noted that the Missouri General Assembly carefully crafted a section of state law governing the content of human sexuality education in Missouri schools.

“School districts are required to, among other things, ‘ensure that all instruction in human sexuality is appropriate to the age of the students receiving such instruction,'” he wrote. “Moreover, school boards are charged with making sure parents are kept informed and notified of the ‘basic content of the district’s or school’s human sexuality instruction to be provided to the student,’ and of their right, ‘to remove the student from any part of [such]… instruction.’”

“It is my sincerest hope that MSBA will stand with me in this fight to protect Missouri children, promote adherence to Missouri law, and ensure parents are fully informed about human sexuality instruction in Missouri schools,” the letter concluded.

In a statement issued alongside his letter, Bailey said he wants Missouri to be the “safest state in the nation for children, which includes preventing school officials from taking schoolchildren to drag shows.”

“My office will use every tool at our disposal to ensure Missouri children are educated, not indoctrinated, and that parents have a say in the process,” he added.

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