Ankeny Schools Finishes Investigation Into Spring Drag Show

The Ankeny School District has completed an internal investigation into the drag show that happened after hours at Ankeny High School this spring.

Two employees were seen in a photo from the event, put on by students in the school’s Gay Straight Alliance. The district still employs both employees.

The school district has not provided other details, citing staff privacy.

“Beyond this, the Ankeny School District does not comment on the specifics of personnel matters. The district’s investigation surrounded the actions of the district’s staff, not the student organization,” the district said in a statement, as reported by the Des Moines Register.

The district started the investigation in May, the day after the performance by the Central Iowa Youth Pride Pageant, a pageant for Iowans under the age of 21. It was only open to high school members of the club, but it wasn’t approved by the district ahead of time.

The club hosted the show at their final meeting and said it was meant to be empowering for the students. The performers talked to the students about being confident, how they discovered themselves, and how drag has helped them express themselves. Drag is a theatrical performance style popular in the LGBTQ community with over-the-top costumes that exaggerate gender presentation, dancing, and lip-syncing.

But it still caught the attention of far-right figures who have stoked hatred and fear of LGBTQ people, particularly those who are trans and/or nonbinary. Those include Libs of TikTok and the Iowa Standard, as well as Kimberly Reicks of the Iowa Mama Bears.

Reicks has appeared at a number of Ankeny School Board meetings, demanding answers about the investigation from the board, despite not having children at Ankeny High School. Reicks made headlines in October after stripping down to a leotard in front of the board to make her point about what she viewed as the drag performer’s inappropriate dress.

At least two Republican members of the Iowa Legislature, Reps. Steve Holt and Jeff Shipley, reached out to congratulate her on the stunt. However, Shipley distanced himself from Reicks and condemned her actions after she was charged for falsifying sexual abuse claims involving her former business partner.


Nikoel Hytrek

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