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Superintendent Defends Teacher Who Organized Drag Show for Kids

From Left to Right: Naomi Zook, 6th Grade Teacher; Steve Hope, Superintendent of Goshen Community Schools

GOSHEN, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has obtained a message from Goshen Community Schools Superintendent, Steve Hope, in which he defends one of his middle school teachers who organized a drag show for kids.

RNM first broke the story about the drag show and its organizer, 6th grade teacher Naomi Zook, on July 16th. The drag show for kids was scheduled for July 17th, at Shanklin Park in Goshen. Zook was the individual who filled out and signed paperwork for a special event application with the parks department. Event organizers publicly announced they had cancelled the event immediately after RNM published its story on the 16th. You can read the original story here. The special event application is attached below. Zook’s dated signature is on the last page.

In response to a Goshen resident’s concerns, Superintendent Hope sent the following message. The message has been provided to RNM from the concerned citizen himself.

Thanks again for reaching out. After speaking with this teacher, I can unequivocally state that this story is simply not true. As I stated at the last board meeting, we are not interested in circumventing family values. We are simply here to support every student who comes through our doors.

This particular episode was simply a parent becoming overzealous and trying to do something for their own child. The teacher here actually tried to get the parent to scale this back.

…..give me your email address if you want me to forward the exact email instead of cut and paste

…….it was a please (sic) talking with you.

However, Hope fails to explain the timing of event planning, marketing and the date in which his teacher filled out the event application with the city.

The event application filled out by Zook on behalf of the Goshen LGBTQ Pride organization was completed and signed by Zook on July 14th. Goshen LGBTQ Pride had been marketing the Youth Drag Show on Facebook as early at July 6th and continued to do so up until July 16th. Meaning organizers were advertising the drag show for kids for at least 8 days prior to Zook completing the special event application. The group has since scrubbed its Facebook page, but a copy of the flyer used in the marketing campaign can be seen below.

RNM reached out to Superintendent Hope via email to give him a chance to clarify his stance as we re-described the timeline of events. As of publication, he had not sent a response.

Hope has been the Superintendent at Goshen Community Schools since last year. He was previously the Assistant Superintendent. He spent 22 years in the Penn Harris Madison school district prior to that. He was the principal at Penn High School for 11 years before heading to Goshen in 2017.

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