School District Officials Share 'Disappointment' After Board Disinvites Gay '30 Rock' Actor from Anti-Bullying Event

Administrators from Pennsylvania's Cumberland Valley School District argued Maulik Pancholy would remind students to treat "all people with dignity and respect"

<p>Monica Schipper/Getty</p> Maulik Pancholy on May 06, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Monica Schipper/Getty

Maulik Pancholy on May 06, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Ten Cumberland Valley School District have expressed "disappointment" after the school board's unanimous vote to disinvite actor Maulik Pancholy, who is openly gay, from an anti-bullying assembly due to his activism and “lifestyle.”

On Monday, April 15, the Pennsylvania school district's board unanimously voted to cancel the former 30 Rock star’s speaking engagement at Mountain View Middle School in Mechanicsburg, Penn. Pancholy, who was scheduled to speak to students on May 22, portrayed Alec Baldwin's devoted assistant in the sitcom and currently delivers keynote speeches about diversity and inclusion.

Following the school board’s vote, the district's superintendent, Mark Blanchard, and nine other administrators wrote a letter obtained by PEOPLE to express their “disappointment” in the vote.

<p>Ali Goldstein/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty</p> Maulik Pancholy in "30 Rock."

Ali Goldstein/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty

Maulik Pancholy in "30 Rock."

Related: Penn. School Board Cancels Gay 30 Rock Actor's Anti-Bullying Talk Because of His Political Activism and 'Lifestyle'

“The Board made a decision that has had significant ramifications for our school community, especially for our students and staff who are members of the LGBTQ+ community,” read the letter, dated Thursday, April 18. “While the issue of ‘political activism’ was cited, statements made publicly by individual board members identified Mr. Pancholy's sexual identity as a factor, an identity shared by many members of our school community.”

The letter continued to condemn the board’s actions, alleging that the members “reduced” Pancholy’s “personhood” to “a single aspect,” adding how the vote “discredited” the speaker’s “ability to communicate a message of anti-bullying and hate.”

<p>Jon Kopaloff/Getty</p> Maulik Pancholy on March 04, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Jon Kopaloff/Getty

Maulik Pancholy on March 04, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

The statement also noted that because Mountain View Middle School is a public school, officials have a responsibility “to serve the entire community” and “protect those who sit under our umbrella of influence.”

“No one should be made to feel that who they are is less than anyone else,” read the statement. “Mr. Pancholy's visit would have reinforced for our students the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect, even if we disagree with or do not understand something about them."

As the letter concluded, the 10 board officials reiterated that they believed Pancholy, 50, should not have been disinvited: “We believe that Mr. Pancholy's assembly should have been allowed to happen and that all of our staff and students should be proud to be part of a school community that values who they are.”

Related: Gay Woman Alleges Discrimination from National Guard Over Her Short Hair and Lack of Jewelry, Makeup

Mountain View Middle School, PA
Mountain View Middle School, PA

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Pancholy also expressed his gratitude for the Mountain View Middle School community’s “outpouring of solidarity, love, and support from the community” in a statement he shared via Instagram on Thursday, April 18.

"When I visit schools, my 'activism' is to let all young people know that they’re seen. To let them know that they matter. When I talk about the characters in my books feeling 'different,' I’m always surprised by how many young people raise their hands – regardless of their identities and backgrounds – wanting to share about the ways in which they, too, feel different," he wrote.

Pancholy also directly addressed the students: "To each of you: I see you. I appreciate you. You matter. No one can take that away from you."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.