MINNETONKA, Minn. (FOX 9) - Outside the Minnetonka Public Schools district offices, a show of support was held Thursday for a teacher at the center of controversy.
"I'm here tonight to hopefully bring awareness to what I think is the lack of inclusive policies and lack of inclusion that is happening in this district," said Heidi Calhoun-Lopez, a parent at the rally.
Last month, Minnetonka Middle School East teacher Colin Perucco featured Black, transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson during his segment called "Perucco's Person of the Day" on the school's morning show for Black History Month.
"Johnson's work paved the way for a louder more prominent voice in the injustices being done in and to the gay community," said Perucco during the segment.
According to the Minnetonka Coalition for Equitable Education, some parents questioned whether the presentation was appropriate or too political for 11-to-13-year-olds. One unnamed parent even recorded and sent the segment to the conservative website "The Daily Wire," which the group says led to hostile blowback for Perucco including calls for his resignation.
"Some parents took umbrage to the fact that he highlighted someone who they consider to be controversial," said Sally Browne of the Minnetonka Coalition for Equitable Education.
In a letter to parents, the school's principal praised Perucco as an educator saying, "He is loved by his students, respected by his peers, and I look forward to having him as a part of our staff for many years."
The principal also said he will be more active in vetting content for the morning show for age appropriateness and balance.
"It would be great if we could be past this, but it's a journey and I think it's going to take a long time to get there," said Rob Tyler, a parent at the rally. "This is probably just another step in that journey."
Perucco's supporters hope this can be a learning experience for the entire district.
"I would hope we can figure out concrete steps towards making this district more diverse, equitable and inclusive district for everyone involved," said Calhoun-Lopez.