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School board reverses decision to cancel gay author’s talk...

Started by Jessica_Rose, April 25, 2024, 07:57:46 AM

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School board reverses decision to cancel gay author's talk after community complaints

Story by Daniel Villarreal (25 April 2024)

After widespread disapproval, a Pennsylvania school board has reversed its decision to cancel gay actor Maulik Pancholy's anti-bullying speech at a middle school. Board members initially canceled the speech over worries that he'd "impose" his "activism" and "lifestyle" onto students, but it's unclear if Pancholy will re-accept the school's invitation to speak.

On Wednesday night, community members packed a high school auditorium and criticized the board for several hours over its April 15 decision to cancel the talk. The board ultimately voted 5-to-4 to reinstate the invitation, The New York Times reported.

Pauncholy, an Indian-American actor who performed on the comedy TV series 30 Rock and in the children's cartoon series Phineas and Ferb, has authored children's books about gay characters and allies who stand up to bullying and discrimination. He was scheduled to give a talk to Mountain View Middle School in Mechanicsburg.

"While the issue of 'political activism' was cited, statements made publicly by individual board members identified Mr. Pancholy's sexual identity as a factor, an identity shared by many members of our school community," the letter continued. "In doing so, Mr. Pancholy's personhood was reduced to a single aspect, and his ability to communicate a message of anti-bullying and hate was discredited."

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