This past Tuesday, a large group of enraged taxpayers and parents have confronted the members of the school board of Hempfield School District in Landisville, Pennsylvania, in the wake of one teacher bringing in a number of drag queens to the high school this past month without parental knowledge or consent.
The event in question was held after-school at Hempfield High School and was hosted by Kelly Tyson, the school's French teacher and the sponsor of their Gay Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club, which sparked outrage from parents who were not made away of the event until well after it happened. Tyson, who has since been placed on administrative leave, chose to pose the social media handles for the drag queens using the learning management system Schoology which ended up giving the students of the school a way in which to contact the performers. Despite giving the links to minors, all four of the accounts are rife with lewd content.
A Pennsylvania teacher hosted a drag show event for students as part of the GSA club. Parents were reportedly not notified. The district has confirmed this morning that the teacher is on leave. pic.twitter.com/NSjkJELl6e
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) April 29, 2022
"Some of you have tried to make us feel insignificant," stated one parent, Meridith Hilt, to the school board. "Our concerns have been 100% validated … they are actively grooming children."
Groups of people supporting Tyson showed up to the meeting early, which ended up having a total attendance reaching several hundred members of the community when looking at both in-person and virtual attendance. The people in person to demonstrate stood waving rainbow flags just outside of the administrative building for the district as people driving by honked in support.
Just before the meeting took place, the gathered parents stated that their presence at the school is "in no way, shape, or form" about the LGBTQ community. Many parents chose to gather and pray at the flagpole in front of the administrative building for almost half an hour before the start of the meeting.
Grant Keener, the President of the Hempfield School Board, issued a statement from the board, which stated the confirmation that the investigation into the drag queen fiasco is still"ongoing" in an "appropriate and affirming way."
He also that another pair of people, to go along with Tyson, have also been placed on administrative leave.
In further statements, Hempfield School District Superintendent Michael Bromirski tried to talk down the parents from sharing what he called "misinformation" that could hurt the investigation, a statement that was met with much chagrin from the people in attendance.
One of the primary speakers at the meeting was Richard Boyer, one of the parents who created and managed the Facebook page "Let's Talk Hempfield," which the angered parents have been utilizing to watch out for inappropriate content in schools.
"You are not hated by the majority," Boyer stated to the LGBTQ community. "You have been accepted by the majority, as evidenced by your physical presence and continued growth in the Hempfield district. Yes, there are individuals within the district who are ignorant and bigoted, but they do not represent the majority."
As a disabled vet who sported a 20-year stint in the United States Army and currently works to try and assist disabled veterans, Boyer claimed that his job had been put in peril because of Progressive activists complaining to his employer about his activism. "This manufactures false hate," claimed Boyer as part of his speech.
Richard Boyer, one of the parent organizers, says that he does not hate the “LGBT community” and tells members to distinguish between “criticism” and “hate.” pic.twitter.com/wLRUR4stxm
— Ben Zeisloft (@BenZeisloft) May 10, 2022
The latter half of the meeting showed a few people speaking in favor of the drag show, such as GSA Vice President Miguel Angel, who claimed that "as someone in the LGBT community and as someone who was physically present at the event, and as someone who I like to think is educated enough to make the argument, I think that what the district is doing is wrong."
However, another parent, Peter Taraborelli, issued their statement in an interview by stating that despite the fact that their child is not yet old enough to have attended Hempfield, the drag queen ordeal was a "failure of the system."
"I attended tonight not to voice my opinion, but to show my support for those who were willing to do so," he stated. "I wanted to be sure that what I saw as an overreach of an administration was properly shot down. The drag show was inappropriate."
"I honestly believe this whole thing is a failure of the system," he commented. "The teachers don’t report issues because principals won’t have their backs. Principals don’t enforce the rules for fear of being hung out to dry by the administration. The administration doesn’t do anything because they can pass blame off to the lower levels, and the school board won’t make decisions because they care more about public opinion. Do I think this will change anything? Maybe in the long haul. Short term, probably not. Long term … hopefully."
"Hopefully more parents get and stay involved. Hopefully more run for local positions and make a difference, because this crap has got to change."