Glen Cove Elementary School staff celebrated at first “Pride Ball”

Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 11:48 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The first “Pride Ball” brought a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and its history to the Taubman Museum of Art Friday night. Before everything kicked off, Glen Cove Elementary School staff members, along with the parent who organized a peaceful protest, were applauded by the more than 50 people at the event. Nine Glen Cove staff members resigned last week.

“We got some special people here tonight. But I want to say this, no matter what others try and take away from us, the power of our rainbow can never be extinguished,” said Vice Mayor Joe Cobb, who is openly gay.

Cobb put on a shirt that displayed the words outlined in rainbow colors, “I support the school counselor, school psychologist, assistant principal and music teacher,” along with wearing a “love is love” rainbow lanyard and a rainbow scarf.

“Now there’s another problematic thing apparently in our schools, who knew? Lanyards, these terrify me. A senior staff member at this school was asked to take this off because they were grooming children,” Cobb said sarcastically to the crowd.

WDBJ7 spoke with Cobb earlier in the day ahead of his speech at the “Pride Ball.” He said there has been a targeted effort over the last year in an attempt to demean and denigrate people who identify as transgender, people who are LGBTQ, allies, the education system and the drag community.

“What we want to communicate loudly and clearly is that Roanoke is a progressive, inclusive, welcoming city. We say that, we practice it, we believe it. But in order to live out that practice, we need to make sure that that is real in every way, that there aren’t pockets of discrimination or there aren’t bits of language that we use to denigrate somebody or defame somebody, that our words and our actions match. And that when someone is drawn to Roanoke as a place where they believe they can be who they are, in the authentic way that they are living their lives and honoring their love and those they love,” said Cobb.

At the May 18th Roanoke County School Board meeting, Damon Gettier and three other parents brought concerns about LGBTQ+ materials in classrooms.

“I care not if someone is LGBTQA – that is their decision. I have friends and business partners that are gay,” said Gettier. “What I’m here to talk about is the child abuse, grooming, conditioning, (and) indoctrination by sexual predators disguised as teachers and staff at Glen Cove Elementary.”

WDBJ7 contacted Roanoke County Public Schools officials, who confirmed 9 teachers resigned and their positions have been filled. However, the school district wouldn’t confirm if the situations were related.

WDBJ7 will continue to provide updates as they become available.