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Decision to cancel ‘Drag & Donuts’...potential federal lawsuit


Decision to cancel ‘Drag & Donuts’ exposes state, school to potential federal lawsuit

Story by Nick Papantonis

The decision to cancel an after-school “Drag & Donuts” event at Orlando’s Boone High School – allegedly after a threat came from the Florida Department of Education – exposes both the district and the state government to a potential federal lawsuit.

For years, the student club has held the event without controversy. It features a local drag performer speaking to students about their life experiences and sharing messages of love and acceptance, which advocates say can be valuable for students whose families take issue with their lifestyle.

This year’s performer, Jason Deshazo, a.k.a. “Momma Ashley Rose,” has been a longtime figure in the local drag community. He runs the Rose Dynasty foundation, which raises money for LGBTQ teens.

Deshazo posted that the event was canceled and the reason behind it on his foundation’s Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

“The Department of Education questioned whether my participation was age and developmentally appropriate for teenagers,” he wrote. “It’s plainly vindictive and meant to chill expression - and worse, it imperils vulnerable youths at a time when we should be embracing and protecting them.”

Orange County School district officials believe the Department of Education overstepped the Parental Rights in Education Act, which lawmakers repeatedly insisted was limited to planned classroom instruction and did not include after-school activities.


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