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Comedian trolls school board that banned LGBTQ Pride flags in hilarious speech

Comedian trolls school board that banned LGBTQ Pride flags in hilarious speech
Walter Masterson Photo: Screenshot

For many progressives, local school board meetings have been the site of some pretty tragi-comic scenes recently, as right-wing activists have pushed their absurd agenda. But this week, one New York-based comedian mined the right’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric for laughs.

Walter Masterson attended a meeting of the Connetquot School District board on Tuesday night. During the public comment period, Masterson, dressed in a stars-and-stripes shirt, got up and delivered a speech satirizing conservative talking points on everything from inclusive pronouns to gun control and school choice.

“As a patriot, I love freedom of speech,” Masterson said. “Except when it comes to pride flags in schools, teaching history. There’s a whole list of books I want to ban from the school library. I want to ban kneeling in football games.”

“The point is we need to protect our children,” he continued. “Which is why we need more security in our schools. We need cops patrolling the hallway. We should also hire cops as teachers. And the students, they should also be cops, like in 21 Jump Street.”

Masterson’s stunt comes as New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has ordered an investigation of the school district for potentially violating the state’s Human Rights Law when a teacher was ordered to remove a Progress Pride flag from her classroom.

As the Long Island Press reports, a teacher at Connetquot High School, who is an out member of the LGBTQ community, was called to the principal’s office earlier this month after refusing to remove the flag from her classroom in September. In letters to Hochul and New York State Education Department Commissioner Betsy Rosa, Dr. David Kilmnick, president of Long Island’s LGBT Network argued that the demand to remove flag was targeted, as no other teacher was asked to remove flags from their classroom.

“The district’s actions are a clear violation of the Dignity for All Students Act, and we look forward to an immediate investigation so that our LGBT youth, who are already bullied at higher rates, do not have to suffer one more day in the unsafe and dangerous environment that the Connetquot School District has created,” wrote Kilmnick.

“Gov. Hochul is committed to protecting the human rights of New Yorkers, and has directed the Division of Human Rights to investigate potential violations of Human Rights Law in this matter, consistent with the agency’s mandate,” a spokesperson for the governor’s office said.

At Tuesday night’s meeting where Masterson spoke, school board members said that students had reported feeling uncomfortable with the Pride flag hanging in the classroom, which is also used for Gay-Straight Alliance Club meetings.

Masterson also posted a longer video from the school board meeting, showing one Connetquot High student calling out online misinformation about students identifying as animals as “a dog whistle for transphobia.”

“We have to stand up and we have to make very clear now that that’s not okay,” the student said. “Ignorance in this district is at an all-time high and we have to put a stop to this somehow.”

“I am here asking that the flag goes back up and that the Board of Ed issues an apology for what they have done,” he continued. “This is not a debate over the colorful fabric. This is a debate over the message, a message that emphasizes togetherness, acceptance, and pride.”

Both the student’s and Masterson’s speeches drew applause from the crowd, a significant number of whom carried Pride flags. But some on Twitter questioned the effectiveness of trolling the school board meeting.

“My intention is to give energy to the people doing the real work,” Masterson tweeted in response to criticisms of his speech. “The boring day to day stuff that doesn’t look good on a tik tok. I want to energize them. This is my non-violent protest.”

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