A Forsyth County mom is facing veiled intimidation by police after working to organize parents and grandparents to attend an upcoming School Board meeting to discuss a recent Drag Event. A freshman Forsyth student received a lap dance from a Drag Queen during school hours, and parents in the district are outraged.
On March 22nd, Forsyth Technical Community College held a school-sponsored drag show. The show took place in the school cafeteria during instruction time. The problem? The college sponsors High School students through their "Career and College Promise" program, and these students, many as young as 14, were present for the performance.
As reported by Libs of TikTok:
"One drag queen was seen performing a lap dance for someone reported to be a student, while others cheered and staff looked on and laughed. Some parents were outraged that although faculty members and campus police were present, no one attempted to ensure that underage students were prevented from participating in the drag event. Forsyth Tech maintained that faculty, staff, and campus police were there to 'make sure that this was a safe event for our students."
That girl was a minor, suspected to be 14 years old. You can watch the explicit video here. To date, no charges have been filed by the District Attorney's office. As of the time of reporting, there is no pending police investigation.
Now, parents are seeking a potential criminal investigation and are planning to speak to the School Board on April 25th. However, one of the organizers received a call from a Police Captain at the Winston-Salem Police Department that, to outside observers, seemed more like an attempt to quiet the parents than it seemed genuine outreach in the interest of "law and order."
At the end of the day on April 11th, Captain Edward D. Branshaw contacted Ashley Wallace, a mom in the district who had started a Facebook group called "Children First WSFCS." The group quickly grew, picking up hundreds of members, including parents and teachers. Ashely has been a staunch advocate for kids and parents alike within the district, seeking school accountability—from masking, reopening after COVID, and now, keeping kids safe from Drag Queens giving them lap dances during their lunch hour.
She titled this advocacy event the "Speak up for Children" rally. Ashley told UncoverDC the plan for the event is to "gather peacefully outside the meeting with signs, then attend the school board meeting and participate in the public comment period." The group has done this several times, including during the height of COVID, for comment on mask mandates. Ashley told us the police department had never contacted her before this week.
Captain Branshaw is from the Field Services Bureau, part of the Winston-Salem PD Special Operations Division. Branshaw left a message for Ashley to call him back. As per Ashely, a permit is not required, nor has it ever been required for this type of assembly at a public school board meeting. UncoverDC found no requirement for a gathering of this type that will not block roads. When Ashley called Branshaw back, she recorded the call for her safety.
Branshaw is cordial and even sounds sympathetic on the call but begins by stating that he wants to make sure that Ashley is "aware of everything that you need to be in compliance with" because, as he states, he "doesn't want to see someone get in trouble" and proceeds to ask how many people will be attending. Ashley responded that she wasn't aware of the number of people and stated their plans:
"So it's just like you know when schools were reopening and stuff, we're just having parents, they're going to get together, they're going to gather outside before the Board Meeting and then go in, umm nothing violent, nothing anything like that. We just are going; we did it a few times; I know the NCAE did it as well, with the getting kids back to school and the masks."
Branshaw proceeds to tell Ashley that he informed the director of security for the school system that he would "pass on some information to you, and he's not trying to change your mind or anything like that, but in fairness, I think that it is, you know, right for you to know that the incident with the girl at the Forsyth Tech—the principal and school, the district office was unaware that there was even gonna be that happening at the school or they wouldn't have sent kids, so for whatever...for whatever that's worth, he asked that I passed that on to you and he did kinda, he is a little bit puzzled about..if it was an incident that happened at Forsyth Tech why are you protesting?"
Ashley informs him of the reason—that there are minors who attend the school and attended the show during instruction. She informs him that the school is responsible for those minors, to which Branshaw replies, "Yeah, and that's what I told him; I said that's probably it."
As the call proceeds, it seems Branshaw is on the same side as parents with the issue, stating that no matter what side of the issue you are on, "no adult should be touching a child." He ends by stating he may call Ashley back for more information and that he will "pass this on to the school director, to the school security director and have them tell the school board this isn't going to be a big thing, it's not like you'll be throwing bottles (nervous laugh)."
You can listen to the entire call here:
Note that throughout the call, Branshaw never tells Ashley what she needs to do to be in "compliance" or informs her of any permitting requirement. It seemed more like the officer was acting as an agent of the school than earnestly working to ensure "compliance." with "requirements for compliance."
Facebook/Christopher Dean Crider
The Chair of the School Board in Forsyth is Deanna Kaplan, who has served on the board since 2018. She is married to long-time former County Commissioner Ted Kaplan(D). Kaplan is also a former state lawmaker who served as County Commissioner from 2006-2022. He recently lost the Democrat primary to retain his seat.
UncoverDC spoke with parents in the district who feel that Kaplan has a role in the police contact with Ashley Wallace due to his former long-term position as Commissioner. The fact that his wife is the Chair of the School Board raised quite a few eyebrows in Forsyth County.
UncoverDC will continue to cover this story as the Board meeting is next week, on April 25th.