North Carolina School Faces Fallout for Drag Show and Shooting Just Days Apart
Drag queens and ghost guns are two phrases not usually referenced in the same sentence — until this week. While recent events on the campus of Forsyth Technical Community College (FTCC) make headlines, school officials scramble to maintain composure. The college in Winston Salem, North Carolina has faced a series of problems within a matter of days: a drag queen caught straddling a female student, while an armed student walked around the campus before he reportedly shot himself in the second-floor bathroom.
On March 22, FTCC hosted a Pride Festival featuring a drag show. The event was a partnership with organizations within the Forsyth County Health Department, and according to the infamous Libs of TikTok, “various churches and ministries were invited to this event.” Fliers were distributed around campus, highlighting featured guests and advertising “free food, drinks, music and activities.” The event was open to all students, including those under the age of 18.
In a video obtained by Libs of TikTok, a drag queen straddled a 10th grader, giving her what appears to be a lap dance. Meanwhile, adults smile and laugh in the background, encouraging the dance to continue. A few days after the incident, Investigative Fellow Alex Nester of Parents Defending Education raised concerns on “Fox News Live.”
“That drag queen touched a child inappropriately, which raises the question, what policies need to be reconsidered at this school to protect children from adults touching them inappropriately?” she asked. “That’s shameful that there are adults standing there in the room and no one is doing anything.”
In response to the burst of opposition, FTCC issued a statement defending their event. “These students, like all college students, are open to attend any student events,” it said. “Forsyth Tech is committed to being a place of promise for our students. In order to fulfill that promise, we have clearly spelled out our mission, vision, and equity statements.”
Additionally, Forsyth Public Health Director Joshua Swift gave Fox News a statement, admitting that, “We spent $58 on supplies from the department’s operational budget which is funded locally and in part by the State of North Carolina.” He then expressed the health department’s stance, saying, “We do not condone the actions that allegedly took place during the event.”
Because the school placed responsibility on the student, even those under the age of 18, senior fellow for Education at Family Research Council, Meg Kilgannon, insists that the parent-child relationship is now more important than ever. “As parents and grandparents, we must be in constant conversation with our children and grandchildren about the events that happen in their lives, especially during the school day, their successes and failures, their worries and their dreams.” She also emphasized that the collaboration between high schools and community colleges “means extra care should be taken by college administrators to protect younger students on campus.”
While school administrators and others involved dealt with the fallout of the drag show, another alarming incident took place on the same campus. Last Thursday, 18-year-old Shannon Howard James Pitts was reportedly shot in his hand, resulting in a self-inflicted, yet not life-threatening, wound. Pitts was a student of Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy — a high school directly linked through dual enrollment to FTCC — and was visiting the college on a school field trip. The echo of the shot prompted an hours-long, campus-wide lockdown, sending parents and students into panic.
“When I first heard that there was an active shooter, I wasn’t actually surprised. However, my body filled with adrenaline,” FTCC student Josh Hair told The Washington Stand. “I stayed where I was, the instructors locked us into the cinder block room we were in, and I continued with what I was doing.”
Pitts was reported to have carried his ghost gun — “untraceable firearms made from parts bought online” — into school with him that morning and on the bus ride to FTCC. Since the shooting, the Winston-Salem police have charged Pitts with a one count of carrying a concealed gun (misdemeanor) and two counts of possession of a weapon on educational property (felony).
“Parents expect an academically excellent and rigorous education for their children,” Kilgannon said in response to both the drag show and the shooting on FTCC’s campus. “That such an education be delivered in a physically and morally safe environment used to go without saying. But now we see that the systems in place in educational settings are not necessarily informed by our values though they are funded by our tax dollars or even tuition payments. This is why Christians must engage in the educational space — our voices are desperately needed.”