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Parents react to canceled diversity presentation at Westmont Hilltop School Board meeting

The Westmont Hilltop School Board held its first regular meeting since cancelling the presentation on diversity with an emphasis on Middle Eastern culture earlier this month. (WJAC)

JOHNSTOWN -- The Westmont Hilltop School Board held its first regular meeting since cancelling the presentation on diversity with an emphasis on Middle Eastern culture earlier this month.

There has been a back-and-forth battle between parents and the school district about holding the presentation.

It was on, then postponed, then tentatively back on and ultimately canceled.

The solicitor for the school district said his office advised the district not to have it because it would open the door to First Amendment issues, mainly the separation of church and state.

The superintendent tells 6News they were threatened with potential lawsuits if the presentation happened.

During a public comment period Monday night, parents stood up and voiced their frustrations, and praise, for the district's decision.

One man who's been against the presentation from the start cited multiple court cases in which the separation of church and state was upheld.

Some school board members also voiced their opinion, saying it is an issue the community needs to resolve and parents should stand up and lead those efforts outside of the district, because of a clear legal boundary.

Parent Kristin Engle says she's upset with the decision, but agreed that it is more of a community problem than a school-basedone.

"I'm a little disappointed that they are backing down, but I am hopeful that we're going to be able to resolve this in a community setting," Engle said.

The superintendent said at this point they have no plans to hold the presentation.

Some parents said they want to help coordinate a community presentation, possibly working with the Johnstown Unity Coalition.

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