Central PA school board director cancels himself over gay guest speaker fallout

Brian Drapp

Former Cumberland Valley School Board Director Brian Drapp sitting at the April 24 school board meeting in Mechanicsburg. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

May 7, 2024

The Cumberland Valley School Board director resigned in protest on Monday after the board voted to reinstate Maulik Pancholy. The board originally voted to ban him from speaking due to his sexuality.

Brian Drapp, director of the Cumberland Valley School Board, quit on Monday citing the school board’s decision to reinstate former “30 Rock” star actor Maulik Pancholy’s anti-bullying speech.

The school board made national news after it voted last month to ban Pancholy from speaking to middle school students because of Pancholy’s sexual orientation and his anti-racism activism.

“I voted twice against a political activist speaking to our middle school students,” Drapp wrote in his resignation letter.

“The actions witnessed at the special meeting on April 24th confirmed this belief. By allowing adults, students and teachers to disrupt, disrespect and silence any differing points of view and overtly ignoring the rules and common decency norms, our silence and non-responsiveness have signaled to our students this type of behavior and actions are acceptable.”

Drapp was referring to the hundreds of parents and students who attended the meeting and heckled and turned their backs to protest board members for their anti-LGBTQ views.

At the meeting, the school board voted 5-4 to reinstate Pancholy. Drapp did not vote in favor.

Mike Gossert, a school board member who was absent for the original vote, called the initial decision to cancel Pancholy an “unforced error.”

“For those of us present and or watching this evening, please know that I may appear to be one of the most quiet board members on this board,” Gossert said at the meeting.

“I have not been quiet through this unforced error that has caused a stain on our community. I want you to know that I will work and not relax until that stain is removed.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

CATEGORIES: EDUCATION | POLITICS

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