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An LGBTQ+ club at a high school in Pennsylvania is facing backlash after hosting a drag show show that some parents found objectionable.
The after-school event at Hempfield High School in Lancaster County "featured dancers in tight-fitting and revealing clothing with exposed buttocks," Lancaster Online reports. "Parents reported that the event was advertised as a drag show." Performers were professional dancers, not students. Video of the event was shared online.
The show, held last Monday, was sponsored by the school's Gay Sexuality Alliance Club. The Hempfield School District has issued an apology, begun an investigation, and placed one staff member on administrative leave.
"First and foremost, the administration team apologizes to students, parents, and the community on behalf of those involved in this event," reads the statement, posted Friday on the district's website. "We are appalled at what took place and in no way condone this type of activity in our schools. Neither the dress of the invited guests nor the performance was appropriate in our school setting."
"We commit to completing a thorough investigation and holding those involved accountable, up to and including disciplinary action that is commensurate with any findings," the statement continues. "Currently, an individual has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Since this is a personnel issue, there will be certain information the district is unable to share with the public."
The person placed on leave was not identified. Lancaster Online sought comment from two advisers to the club, French teacher Kelly Tyson and English teacher Carla Vicidomini, but neither has responded.
Meredith Hilt, who has two children in the district, brought the show to public attention with a Facebook post. Her children are not in the club. She told Lancaster Online her objections do not reflect any animus toward LGBTQ+ people.
"It has nothing to do with them as an LGBT community," she said. "It wouldn't make a difference to me if it was a woman doing this. It's irrelevant that they are drag queens, it's the type of the performance at the school."
But another parent, Melissa Taylor, told the site that some residents are interfering in a situation that doesn't concern them. "All they are doing is hurting the kids in that club and the teacher," said Taylor, whose children are not in the club either. "If your kids aren't involved in and you're not giving your permission, why are you getting involved? ... They are hyperfocused on this teacher now when this teacher was just trying to provide a safe environment for these kids."