Massachusetts school board under fire over event featuring a drag show

A Massachusetts school board is facing intense scrutiny from community members after an event featuring a drag queen was held at a district high school.

During a Sutton School Committee meeting…

A Massachusetts school board is facing intense scrutiny from community members after an event featuring a drag queen was held at a district high school.

During a Sutton School Committee meeting last week, a resident expressed concerns about the event, the Connections Conference (Con Con), held at Sutton High School on March 15.

“I have a few questions and concerns regarding the 2024 Con Con Conference that we recently held at the Sutton High School,” Maren Graves said. “Over 600 students attended, from all different schools, starting from 7th grade and up.”  

Graves questioned the approval process for the conference’s content and agenda, particularly regarding the inclusion of a workshop titled “How to be a Drag Queen.” 

“Who is the person that approves that and feels that this coincides with the mission statement at Sutton High School?” Graves asked. “One of the workshops was ‘How to be a Drag Queen,’ and I’ve got to tell you, [it] didn’t sit right with me. 

“Tell me as a grown woman sitting here before you, what life skills are we teaching these kids?” 

Graves described the moment a drag queen performed, as well. 

“You have a 30-year-old male that comes in, in a pink mini skirt with white lace underwear and he’s telling the kids that his breasts are freezing, but he didn’t use the word ‘breast,’” Graves said. “And he’s having the kids choose a drag queen name. 

“I don’t think this is age appropriate. I don’t believe that it belongs in the school, and that’s why I’m here tonight.”  

Libs of TikTok obtained photos of the event, supporting Graves’ description.  

“I thought you had to be 21 to get into a drag queen show,” Graves quipped. 

She criticized the school for not performing background checks on the performers and presenters of the conference. 

“I spoke with the superintendent, we had a lengthy conversation, and something I found a little bizarre was that they didn’t need to be CORI checked,” Graves said, speaking of the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information system. “Every time I went in to read a story to the classroom to my boys and to the school, I had to be CORI checked. 

“So, the presenters of the Con Con Conference, the presenters and the drag queen do not have to be CORI checked. I find that bizarre in this day and time.” 

Tracy Griffin, another concerned resident, also questioned the board on how the conference was funded.  

“Is that true, grants money being used?” Griffin asked. “Did we ever figure that out?”  

In response, Vice-Chair Nathan Jerome addressed the room, essentially saying the board’s procedure is not to answer questions raised by public comments. 

“I mean, unfortunately this part of the session – and I know it’s going to add to the frustration – it’s not a discussion point so we don’t do a question and answer,” Jerome said. “If it is part of the agenda items, it’s something that can be answered later in the meeting.” 

Griffin also expressed unease about racial workshops hosted at the event. 

“I just don’t think that a lot of the things that are going on here are very appropriate,” Griffin said. “I looked into Mr. McCarthy and him calling our children inherently racist or bad kids because, they don’t know it, but they’re racist. That’s just not fair.”  

Some of the lessons listed on the event’s website include “What is Diversity?,” “What are Microaggression?” and “What is Privilege?” 

Another workshop listed is called “Pronouns, Identities & Misrepresentation: Misgendering Kind of Suckz,” which was featured in a school video recap of the event. 

The video also shows a scene with the drag queen performer, as well as a student testimonial that refers to the drag even as her favorite part of the day. 

Reading materials for the event included titles such as “Waking up White,” “Witnessing Whiteness,” “LGBT vocabulary,” “We Should All Be Feminists,” and “The Pill and the Sexual Revolution.”