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CPS superintendent apologizes, will review permission-slip process following drag performance


Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Brian Yearwood apologized to parents in a letter Wednesday following a drag performance at a diversity event held by the city two weeks ago where students were present.

“For some, the city’s event demonstrated the importance of inclusion. For others, expectations were not met, specifically regarding the level of communication provided to parents. Either way, it has created frustration for many,” Yearwood wrote. “I want to apologize to parents and our community for that frustration. As a district, we continually strive to meet the expectations of our parents and community. When we do not meet those expectations, I apologize.”

Yearwood also said in the letter that a review of the district’s permission-slip process will be conducted.

“It is important for our scholars that we always look for ways we can continue to learn, grow, and improve,” he said in the letter. “I shared previously that we are continuing to review our internal process and look for ways to share information effectively, clearly, and fully with our students and families. This will include a review of our permission slip process that incorporates feedback from parents.”

This comes after backlash the school district faced in recent weeks after 30 CPS students were in the audience for a drag performance at a diversity breakfast held by the city.

Video footage from the event resulted in criticism from several state Republican politicans, including Gov. Mike Parson, state Sen. Caleb Rowden and Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey. Bailey has written two letters to CPS and demanded the resignation of those who knew about the performance.

Bailey on Tuesday put pressure on school boards to adopt resolutions banning drag performances where students are present.

Nclusion Plus – the group who had performers in drag at the Columbia Values Diversity breakfast – said the performance was family-friendly.

Rowden wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that he appreciated Yearwood's letter and that he wants to work together with the district for students' benefit.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia Public Schools

Ryan Shiner


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