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A Wisconsin high school teacher who performed for students in drag as part of a “Fine Arts Week” event said he’s received an outpouring of support from the school community after clips of the performance spread on social media.
“The coolest thing was that when I went back to school after all of this media stuff had happened, all around the school there were these signs posted saying we support you, LGBTQ rights matter,” French teacher Matt Kashdan told WKOW.
Kashdan capped off Middleton High School’s “Fine Arts Week” earlier this month by donning a blue sequined dress and red heeled boots while dancing to Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga’s song “Rain on me.”
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A clip of the performance has since gone viral. At least one parent complained about the performance, while others criticized him on social media.
“I’m like, this opportunity could be cool to show my art, my version of art,” Kashdan recounted to WKOW of why he signed up to perform. “But it’s also a cool opportunity for me to show students like — who cares? Just go be yourself.”
A Middleton-Cross Plains Area Schools parent wrote in an email to local conservative radio host Vicki McKenna denouncing the performance, Empower Wisconsin reported last week.
“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,” the parent wrote.
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“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?” the parent continued.
Kashdan said people were also calling him a “pedophile” after videos of the performance spread but noted he has no regrets.
“People were calling me a groomer, people were calling me a pedophile, people are calling me a narcissist,” Kashdan told WKOW. “It was homophobic.”
“This whole experience honestly made me want to do drag more,” he added. “All this has done has just showed me the power of drag and how important it is for our community.”
A school district representative told Fox News Digital last week that the school was reviewing protocols for performances at Fine Arts Week.
“This year, an MHS teacher performed a routine in drag as part of the staff talent show. The school received one complaint about the performance from a parent. The school is reviewing protocols and processes going forward to make sure all perspectives are considered,” a statement from Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District to Fox News Digital last week states.
Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District spokeswoman Shannon Valladolid described the school’s Fine Arts week as one where students and teachers “showcase their talents in music, art, dance, and theater.”
Parental permission for students to attend the event has never been required “since the event’s inception many years ago,” according to Valladolid. The week always ends with a staff talent show. Staff members perform at the event by first signing up with the “Fine Arts Week Coordinator” and describing their act.
School officials sent a message to the school community detailing that Kashdan has resigned from the school, but the resignation had nothing to do with the performance. The message also noted that “going forward, staff performances will be vetted by a team, including an Administrator.”
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“The teacher involved in the controversial performance resigned his position weeks ago. His resignation is in no way connected to his performance. He will not be returning to our school next year in order to pursue other career paths outside of education,” the message reads, according to WKOW.