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COLUMBIA, Missouri (LifeSiteNews) — A Missouri school district is facing fire for exposing kids to a drag show as part of a sanctioned field trip to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.

But the district stands by its decision, reflecting the ongoing battle between conservatives who want to protect kids from being sexualized and public schools that want to push an inappropriate, LGBT agenda on young children.

“On Jan. 19, 30 [Columbia Public Schools] middle schoolers took a field trip to the Columbia Values Diversity Celebration breakfast, according to the school district,”, a local news station, reported.

Superintendent Brian Yearwood admitted that the district did not properly look into the content, but stood by its decision to bring children there. He also claimed that the school district “cannot expect to have complete information” about what will attend at events they preplan to attend, even though the district could of course inquire ahead of time.

District officials were “unaware what the performance by NClusion+ [the drag show group] would entail,” Yearwood wrote. But he stood by his decision to use taxpayer dollars to transport children to a drag show by referencing MLK. He said the event was definitely not of a “sexual nature” and called such accusations and used the favored buzzword of “misinformation” to push back on criticism of exposing kids to a drag show.

He wrote:

Given the purpose of the breakfast and the distortions that followed, I think it is appropriate to conclude in the same place where this began. In 1947, Dr. King wrote an essay titled “The Purpose of Education,” which included the following thought: “Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal and the facts from the fiction.”

This is an apparent attempt to place the district’s decision to allow kids to attend a drag show on par with the civil rights legacy of MLK.

The decision to expose kids to sexualized content drew criticism from state leaders.

“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,” Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said on January 23 in response to the controversy. “They need to resign or be terminated immediately.”

“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 the issue is about protecting children.”

Governor Mike Parsons also criticized the school district, which prompted the letter from Superintendent Yearwood.

“We are deeply concerned about reports that Columbia middle school students were subjected to adult performers during what is historically a MLK Day celebration. This is unacceptable,” he tweeted on Friday, January 20.

“Parents weren’t clearly informed of the contents of the program, and adult performances are not diversity,” he wrote. “Columbia Public Schools should focus on educational experiences that prioritize math, reading, writing, science, and history, which parents expect and demand for their kids.”

Public schools have faced criticism before for their role in grooming children.

For example, a Florida elementary school took kids to a homosexual bar as part of a “community” education lesson in October 2021.
“It’s inappropriate to take children to a bar — any type of bar — on a school field trip, when there are numerous educational and age-appropriate options,” Governor Ron DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw told LifeSiteNews at the time.
A recent report from the inspector general for Chicago Public Schools also detailed hundreds of incidents of sexual abuse and grooming carried out by employees and contractors. The 2022 annual report more identified more than 600 cases of students groomed by adults within the school system that were investigated and closed last year.
Discussing sex is one of the key ways pedophiles groom kids, according to an expert on child abuse. Professor Charol Shakeshaft and her team looked at over 200 cases of abuse and concluded “red flag grooming behaviors” include “personal disclosure of adult sexual activity and preferences, and questions to students about their sexual lives.”