Colorado middle school includes drag queen on career day

Credit: Chris McGrath

Credit: Chris McGrath

Career day at a Colorado middle school included the usual occupations -- a police officer and an architect -- but the inclusion of a noted drag queen has outraged several parents, KCNC reported.

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A drag queen performer, who goes by the stage name of Jessica L'Whor, attended career day at Rocky Top Middle School, a spokesman for the Adams 12 Five Star School District told the television station.

The performer discussed the drag queen business -- she did not perform, and used the name Ms. Jessica instead of the stage name -- and read a book that addressed bullying, KCNC reported.

Rocky Top Principal Chelsea Behanna said including the drag queen reflected the community's diversity, KDVR reported.

Behanna sent a letter to parents Monday, noting that “Jessica read a chapter from 'Horrible Harry' and she used the text to illustrate the damage bullies can do, the need to always put kindness and acceptance at the forefront, and the shortsightedness of judging a book by its cover.”

Some parents did not agree, saying having a drag queen at a middle school career day was inappropriate.

"I was pretty appalled. I was pretty surprised. It was a shock because no one was notified," parent Jen Payer told KDVR.

“This person is an adult entertainer and is talking to 12-year-old students about something that’s adult nature,” parent Heather Rogers told the television station.

L'Whor told KCNC most students reacted positively.

“I went to four classes. In every class, one person asked me how to handle negativity and hate,” the performer told the television station. “There were a lot of kids interested in how I could have the confidence to go out looking the way I look.”

District spokesman Joe Ferdani did not apologize for including the drag queen, but did express regret that parents were not notified in advance.

"Parents should have known in advance who was going to be speaking, and that didn't happen in this particular situation," Ferdani told KCNC. "Parents just needed to have more info, and context about what was going to be talked about, and some background on this individual, and they weren't given that information."

“I would tell the parents, ‘I’m not telling your kid to go off and become a drag queen,” L’Whor told the television station. “I’m telling them to have the conversations. Because, it will come up in life.”

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