Angry parents protested outside the Encinitas Union School District offices on Tuesday evening over the school board promoting a flyer for an “all-ages” Halloween drag show.
The flyer was promoting an event called “Queerfest” for “youth and families” which featured a “Boo Bash” drag show. It boasted that the event is “the queerest free Halloween party for kids and families. It includes games, trick or treating, and a family-friendly drag show.”
Even more shockingly, the event was sponsored by a gay bar and a gender reassignment surgery center.
Parents became alarmed when the flyer was posted by the district on Peachjar, an app that allows community groups to submit events to the school board for promotional consideration. After being approved, it was sent out to the parents.
Despite being shared by the school board, the flyer was stamped with a message saying that “distribution of this flier does not imply endorsement by the Encinitas Union School District, its schools, or staff and is distributed in compliance with federal and state law.”
“Our message is very clear. We don’t want strip shows, we don’t want drag shows, and definitely not sent out inviting the parents and kids in our district,” one of the protesters, Carrie Boller, a mother of two, told ABC 10 News.
Justin Ried, a father of two and school board candidate, told the station that while he wants to be “inclusive,” they need to “draw a line” somewhere.
“We certainly want to be an inclusive community and support groups of all kinds, but the question is where do we draw the line? At what point do we think well, maybe drag shows shouldn’t be promoted to our kindergarten through 6th families is that something that would be suitable for somebody who is five to ten years old, maybe not. We should know how those decisions are being arrived at,” said Ried.
The board has since stopped promoting the flyer, but the parents still want to know who approved it in the first place — and why. They also want that person fired, according to Boller.
The district said in a statement that “it remains steadfast in our commitment to be an inclusive and supportive district for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, linguistic background, economic class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and physical and cognitive ability. “