(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) West High School officials in Manchester, N.H., defended stealing American Rescue Plan Act money to fund a Youth Pride event and groom students this week by inviting drag queens.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, an application that was submitted in April by Manchester West art teacher Richella Simard to the city’s Community Event and Activation program revealed that the total cost of the event was $6,150.
CEAG grant money covered $4,000 of that total amount. The additional $2,150 were covered by matching funds. Union Leader reported that the city’s Community Event and Activation grant money originated from ARPA funds.
“As a district, we support and care for all of our students as they learn and grow,” Manchester Superintendent of Schools Jenn Gillis said. “Events such as this are consistent with the goals of our community-developed strategic plan, and in line with district policies.”
The school spent $800 for printed T-shirts, $500 for Pride decorations and $500 for drag performers to groom the kids.
“We are looking to get equipment that is sustainable and durable for many more Pride celebrations and activities at West to come,” Simard said.
“As a committee member and youth co-chair of the Manchester City Pride for three annual pride celebrations, this will also be shared and open to all youth in the district and city to attend.”
Thomas Brescia, the city’s Community Grants Administrator, who serves as the principal administrator of ARPA funding for the Queen City, approved the grant application on Apr. 7, 2023, via email.
“Events like this Pride celebration continue in West High School’s tradition of honoring youth voices in ways that feel meaningful to them,” Philibotte said. “Joyful spaces where LGBTQ+ youth feel loved, celebrated and centered is the work of public education.”
West High School Principal Richard Dichard agreed.
“West High School supports all clubs and organizations and the Diversity Club’s Pride event is no exception,” he said. “We are thankful for the grant money which will not only support this event, but many others that we hold for all students at West High School.”