School Board Reverses Decision to Cancel Gay “30 Rock” Actor’s Anti-Bullying Speech: 'I’m Deeply Grateful'

"The school board listened to the community, reversed course, and voted 5-4 to reinstate my visit," Maulik Pancholy said in a statement

<p>Jon Kopaloff/Getty</p> Maulik Pancholy

Jon Kopaloff/Getty

Maulik Pancholy

Following a public backlash, Pennsylvania’s Cumberland Valley School Board has reversed its decision to disinvite actor Maulik Pancholy, who is openly gay, from an anti-bullying assembly due to his activism and “lifestyle.”

"Last night, the Cumberland Valley School District school board convened a special meeting to reconsider their unanimous decision to cancel my scheduled author visit at Mountain View Middle School," the actor said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday, April 25. "The school board listened to the community, reversed course, and voted 5-4 to reinstate my visit."

"I'm deeply grateful to the hundreds of people who showed up and for the outpouring of support from the Superintendent, administrators, parents, caregivers, teachers, and community members. I was especially moved by every single student who showed immense courage stepping up to the podiums," Pancholy added. "Thank you for sharing your powerful messages of love, inclusion, respect, and belonging."

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Pancholy's invitation to speak at a May 22 assembly about anti-bullying to students at Mountain View Middle School was initially revoked following a unanimous April 15 vote by the school board where two board members voiced concerns regarding his “lifestyle” coupled with other concerns about his activism.

His website notes that in addition to his acting credits, Pancholy, 50, also delivers keynote speeches “on the topic of diversity and inclusion."

That decision was met with backlash, with ten Cumberland Valley School District officials publicly expressing their "disappointment" with the decision to disinvite him. "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," read the statement, which was obtained by PEOPLE.

After hearing from members of the community, another vote was held on Wednesday, April 24, which reversed their previous decision.

The school district did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

<p>Cindy Ord/Getty</p> Maulik Pancholy

Cindy Ord/Getty

Maulik Pancholy

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

After being informed that he was no longer invited to speak at the school, Pancholy took to Instagram where he posted that he was there to let students “know that they matter.”

"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," Pancholy wrote.

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Following the reversal, the actor shared how much the decision meant.

"Last night, you made sure every single student at MVMS knows they belong," Pancholy wrote. "I recognize there is much healing and work that still needs to happen. My heart is with you as your community continues to come together. Please know that your actions have been an inspiration to myself and to so many who have been watching."

"To every student at MVMS: I see you. I appreciate you. You matter. I cannot wait to meet all of you in person," the actor added.

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