Students protest at school board meeting over canceled Orange County school drag event

‘Donuts and Drag’ canceled last month following call by Florida Department of Education

Students showed up to a OCPS meeting on Tuesday to protest laws that they claimed were detrimental to students' interests.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public School students showed up outside of the school board meeting Tuesday to protest a cancelled “Donuts and Drag” event at Boone High School last month.

Students protested with signs and stuffed trash bags made to look like body bags.

“Donuts and Drag” was an event held by one of the school’s clubs, which invited a guest speaker — drag queen Jason DeShazo a.k.a. “Momma Ashley Rose.”

At the time, the school’s principal said the event wasn’t a drag performance, but after a call from the Florida Department of Education over concerns about whether the event was age appropriate, the school was forced to cancel the event.

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The principal added that FDOE officials indicated any administrators, teachers or other staff members in attendance could be investigated and risk having their professional licenses jeopardized if inappropriate content was discovered.

During the school board’s Tuesday meeting, public comment saw reaction from both students and parents on either side of the issue.

Some voiced support for the event as a matter of inclusion, and others called for schools to stay away from sexual material and stick to the basics, focusing on teaching subjects like reading, writing and math.

DeShazo told News 6 that he was “shocked and dismayed” upon hearing the news.

“It has been proven that our events are positive, educational and beneficial,” DeShazo wrote. “We strive to provide a safe space for everyone, and that should be something that we can all agree on.”

Meanwhile, school board member Alicia Farrant said the cancelation was warranted.

“I think we need to make sure that we are raising the standard,” she said. “We have a high standard of morals and dignity here in Orange County for our public schools. What happens outside of our public schools is on parents, but here in our public schools, as educators, we are held to a higher standard.”

Despite her views, Farrant spoke at the end of the meeting, addressing those who spoke during public comment.

Farrant said that no matter what someone’s beliefs are, no one deserves name-calling. She added that while she may not hold the same beliefs as others, she and other district officials care about all students.

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