Missouri attorney general calls for Columbia Public Schools staff to resign after drag show incident

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Andrew Bailey, left, and Brian Yearwood | Photos courtesy of Missouri Times

COLUMBIA, Mo. — On the radio program 93.9 The Eagle’s “Wake up Mid-Missouri” with Branden Rathert and 104.5 NewsRadio KWOS, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey called for the resignation of some Columbia Public Schools officials after sending school children the 2023 Columbia Values Diversity Celebration that included a drag show presentation that took place on the morning of Thursday, January 19.

CPS has received backlash after a drag show was shown to conclude the event, with elected city officials even tipping the performers.

“I am calling for the resignation or termination of any school official that knew that the drag show was going to be part of the event and willfully took children to the event. They need to resign or be terminated immediately,” Bailey exclaimed.

The 30 children who attended the celebration had their parents’ permission, but the parents were unaware the drag show was part of the celebration where children from both private and parochial school students also attended.

Gov. Mike Parson also tweeted he was “deeply concerned” with the performances that were shown to the school children.

Brian Yearwood, superintendent of CPS, wrote in his letter back to Parson that CPS’ role in the event is “limited to participating in a single portion” and “CPS was unaware of what the performance by NClusion+ would entail.”

Many of the school officials’ names were on the event’s program, so there is an ongoing debate as to whether or not CPS knew what performances were going to take place at the event.

Bailey called on three statutes that could have been undermined by CPS, with the most important one being RSMo 170.015, which sets guide rails on the curriculum given to certain ages of students with notification to the parents.

“This is shameful behavior. This is nothing short of deplorable,” Bailey said. “Don’t let them hide behind the shroud, the cloak, the deception of ‘diversity,” because this issue is about protecting children.” 

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden (R-Boone County) shared that his office has received many calls from concerned parents and has requested a meeting with Yearwood and the school board to evaluate what happened at the event, and how it happened.

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