MIDDLETON, WI – During ‘Fine Arts Week’ at a high school in Wisconsin, one of the teachers got up in front of the student body for a drag queen performance which, apparently, fits into this school’s definition of “fine arts.”
French teacher Matthew Kashdan got up on stage in the school’s auditorium dressed in a low-cut, blue-sequined dress that exposed his entire backside to the students. Kashdan twirled around the stage, lip-syncing to “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande.
The teacher’s performance was not received well by some parents who don’t think drag queen performances, especially by their children’s teachers, are appropriate for school assemblies.
“I send my children to school and entrust them to teachers that I have to believe are professionals who won’t destroy their innocence for their own pleasure,” said one Middleton Schools parent. “If Matthew Kashdan makes a decision to perform his drag show at school, what else does he do in his classroom with a roomful of children? What kind of educators thought this was appropriate? Drag shows are “fine arts”? If a teacher is a pole dancer or stripper, can they also perform for my children?”
“I don’t care what Matthew Kashdan does outside of school,” added the parent. “I do care what he does at Middleton High School.”
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However, the school district’s Director of Information and Public Relations, Shannon Valladolid, responded to the parental complaints, saying, “The week is full of performances that are enjoyed by students and staff alike. Performances range from music to dance to martial arts, culinary arts, visual arts, language arts, and other arts that fit our extensive definition of The Arts.”
Valladolid also added that this week always ends with a staff talent show, and the performances are vetted by faculty members.
According to this statement, it seems that perhaps this performance was not intended to represent “fine art.” However, the performance itself was still incredibly inappropriate for this setting.
Sexualizing yourself in front of students – many of whom are under 18 – while exposing your body to them, should not be condoned by any k-12 school. Ever. Especially by a teacher.
One Twitter user, Daniel Lennington, a Deputy Counsel at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, posted a video of this incident which received many interesting comments.
"Most of you know me as the French teacher, but now you will know me as the drag teacher!" Middleton students treated to this performance as part of "Fine Arts Week." (Middleton students are 47% proficient in math and 49% in language arts.) pic.twitter.com/bEFMIUxXmo
— Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) April 12, 2022
One Twitter user said, “I’m a teacher and I don’t do that. None of [the] teachers I work with would ever do that or look for any personal validation from students.”
Another replied, “As a recent graduate in the field of education, in my experience, more young teachers-to-be want to be teachers to push an agenda rather than because they’re passionate about teaching or the subject.”