Cyndi Diercks is outraged.
An outspoken critic of Bettendorf School District policy, Diercks is making social media accusations, regarding an event last week at the high school.
In a series of Facebook posts, and later in an interview with the Quad-City Times, Diercks claimed a pep rally held Friday at Bettendorf High School was a mandatory-attendance "drag show."
A grandparent of students in the district, Diercks regularly is critical of studies, events and/or curriculum that she interprets as having something to do with sexuality or gender identity. School officials said she was incorrect in categorizing the pep assembly, which they said was a recognition of winter sports athletes.
Attendance was required, which is routine, because the rally was held during the school day. The event included performances by the school band and show choir.
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Diercks posted a photo of a student that was taken during the rally to claim the event was a "burlesque" show and "pretty much a gay promotion." She said she was getting her information from students who attended.
During the rally, a student who won a peer-determined "Formal Friday" contest removed a jacket to reveal an open-shoulder top. Diercks posted a photo of the student, whom she identified as "queer" and "trans" and "a drag queen."
Her conduct drew the ire of Bettendorf School Board President Rebecca Eastman, who wrote the following response: “As board president, a parent of a BHS student, and as a human being, I am appalled by the recent social media posting made by an ill-informed Bettendorf citizen.
"Our students have the right to a safe, high-quality education and should never be subjected to public ridicule nor hate speech, especially from an adult.”
Diercks on Monday denied that her use of the student's photo, along with references to "queer," among other things, amounted to bullying. When teens are bullied, she said, they often, "are causing the bullying."
"Bullying is part of our society," Diercks said.
The Bettendorf district offers the following parental guidelines on its website: "Be sure to use caution in posting pictures of others on-line and especially those of others' children. Be mindful that ... You are personally responsible for the content you publish online."
In her social media post Friday, Diercks wrote: "We as parents have the right to control what our children are exposed to! We have the right to religiously educate our children in what we believe is Christian, just as when our children become adults they have the right to refuse to adopt our ideology.Diercks is "not a homophobe" or "against transgender people," she said.
"I am against the sexualization of our children," she said. "I don't have a problem with other people's lifestyles, but sexuality needs to be private."