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School board cancels '30 Rock' actor's speech over activism and 'lifestyle' reasons

School board cancels '30 Rock' actor's speech over activism and 'lifestyle' reasons


MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (AP) A Pennsylvania school district has canceled an upcoming appearance by actor and children's book author Maulik Pancholy after district leaders raised concerns about what they described as his activism and his lifestyle.

Pancholy, who is gay, was scheduled to speak against bullying at a May 22 assembly at Mountain View Middle School in Cumberland County. However, the district's school board voted unanimously Monday evening to cancel his speech after some members expressed concerns and others noted the district's policy of not holding overtly political events, they said. reported the media. The policy was adopted after the district came under fire for hosting a Donald Trump rally during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Pancholy, 48, is an award-winning actor, most notably for his roles in the television shows 30 Rock and Weeds, and as the voice of Baljeet in the Disney animated series, Phineas & Ferb. He has also written children's books and, in 2014, was appointed by then-President Barack Obama to serve on the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, where he co-founded a campaign to combat AAPI bullying.

Pancholy's appearance was scheduled by the school's leadership team, which selects an author each year to present a unique educational experience to students, according to the district.

In discussing the appearance at Monday night's meeting, school board members said they didn't know what Pancholy's speech would be about, but one member said he didn't want to risk it. this could imply.

If you look up this individual, he presents himself as an activist, Bud Shaffner said: according to Pennlive. He takes pride in his lifestyle and I don't think that should be forced on our students, at any age.

The board's vote drew criticism from several parents, students and community members who called the decision homophobic. Some have started online petitions demanding that Pancholy's appearance be reinstated.

In a report Posting on social media, Pancholy said that as a middle school student, he never saw himself represented in stories and that books featuring South Asian American or LGBTQ+ characters did not exist. When he began writing his own novels years later, he still struggled to find these stories, he said.

This is why I wrote my books in the first place, Pancholy wrote. Because representation matters.

Pancholy said his visits to schools were meant to let all young people know they are seen. To let them know they matter. When he talks about his characters' feeling different, he says he's always surprised by how many kids of diverse identities and backgrounds are also willing to share how different they feel.

This is the power of books. They develop empathy, Pancholy wrote. I wonder why a school board is so afraid of this?




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