SIMPSONVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) – Greenville County deputies on Thursday released a list of safety precautions they said will be enforced as the controversial “Drag Queen Story Hour” will be held at a Greenville County library branch, alongside an alternate event Conservative groups are planning at the library in protest.
DRAG QUEEN STORY TIME EVENT
The event is scheduled for Feb. 17 from 3 – 5 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch Library.
The library initially canceled the event due to an issue with ticketing not being in accordance with policy, but the event is now scheduled to go on, as well as an opposing event.
Rylee Hunty, one of the organizers, said the library did not allow ticketing for events, which should be first come-first serve, and the group was using an online website to distribute free tickets for the event.
By creating a ticketing system, the Library viewed the event as restricting- something not in their criteria. According to the Greenville Library, meeting spaces are considered public areas, and applicants can't restrict or limit public access.
A spokesperson for the library said the library system notified the organization on February 7 of the misinterpretation the Eventbrite page created.
According to the library, the organizers said they would remove the listing. After four days with no removal, the Library System made the decision to cancel the reservation.
Greenville County Council provided this statement from Beverly James with the Greenville County Library System on the decision to cancel:
Greenville County Library System meeting rooms may be used by the public with the understanding that anyone may attend events and meetings held in them because they are public spaces.
The “Mom’s Liberal Happy Hour Presents: Drag Queen Story Time” event listing on eventbrite.com violates Library System policy in two ways: it restricts admittance to those who hold tickets, and it requires those attending an event in a Library System meeting room to show identification.
Because the eventbrite.com invitation and restriction remains online making it appear that public library space is being used for a private event, the Library System is canceling the Mom’s Liberal Happy Hour meeting room reservation at the Five Forks Branch for Sunday, February 17, 2019.
Hunty said she was working to re-reserve the room at the library under her own name and still host the story hour event.
On Wednesday, Hunty posted in the Facebook event page that the new application was approved and the story hour will take place on Sunday.
"New Application Was Approved. The Event is Back On & We Will See You on Sunday 📚💖👸🏼," Hunty posted.
The announcement of the Drag Queen Story Hour coming to the Upstate was met with support from some parents and highly vocal opposition from many others.
One such supporter is Natalie Shaik, with Mom's Liberal Happy Hour SC. She says the story hour is something she wants to take her own kids to to show them diversity, citing her family's background.
PRO-FAMILY COMMUNITY GATHERING
The groups GOP Politics of South Carolina and the Greenville Tea Party announced the will hold an alternate event at the same time at the Five Forks library branch Sunday, called the Pro-Family Community Gathering.
According to the Facebook event page, the Pro-Family Community Gathering "is for ALL of the community to come together and over shadow this 'Drag Queen Story Hour' which is a group of far-left extremists, pushing their political and out-of-this world ideology in our community."
Pressley Studds, the chairman of the Greenville Tea Party, said he didn't know what to think of the event at first.
The gathering will also be from 3 - 5 p.m. and will feature a message from Mark Burns.
GREENVILLE COUNTY DEPUTIES ENFORCING SECURITY MEASURES
Lt. Ryan Flood said deputies will enforce several security measures to "ensure the safety and security of all people attending or present during the event."
Flood said the decision was made after deputies were notified of multiple threats made over social media.
The following safety measures will be enforced from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Five Forks Branch Library on Sunday:
- There will be no bags of any kind allowed on the property of the library.
- Anyone wishing to assemble must use the designated areas in the parking lot in an effort to not block or interfere with library patrons.
- Expect heavy traffic congestion during the above time period.
- No parking on Woodruff Road, Sunnydale Drive or Dusty Lane. Deputies and Troopers from the Highway Patrol will be providing traffic control and enforcement.
- Only residents of Mcrae Place will be allowed on Sunnydale Drive (beyond the library).
- No weapons of any kind will be allowed on the library’s property.
- Reminder that State Law prohibits the wearing of a mask to include bandanas, to conceal a person’s identity.
- Reminder that the FAA prohibits flying drones over crowds without a permit.