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Brawl Erupts Outside School Board Meeting on LGBTQ+ Rights



An already tense Glendale Unified School District board meeting Tuesday turned violent when pro-and anti-LGBTQ+ protesters clashed outside of the building, police said, confirming three people were arrested during the scuffle and that attempts to de-escalate the angry crowd ultimately failed.

The school board was scheduled to vote on recognizing June as Pride month–as has been the case for the last four years–with most of the meeting’s speakers from the public generally being in favor of LGBTQ+ rights. But about an hour into the meeting, punches were thrown outside, prompting the meeting’s attendees inside to have to shelter in place as police declared the protest as an unlawful assembly.

Videos posted to social media captured the intense scenes. Those in protest of the LGBTQ+ policies could be seen wearing shirts reading: “Leave our kids alone,” and shouting the names of the five members of the school board. Those in favor shouted: “Racists, sexists, anti-gay. Christian fascists go away.”

In a statement, the Glendale Police Department said several hundred protesters from both sides were present at the protest after each took to social media to rally their supporters to convene at the school headquarters ahead of the last Board meeting of the school year.

“While most of the protest was peaceful, a small group of individuals engaged in behavior deemed unsafe and a risk to public safety,” the statement said. “Despite police attempts to de-escalate the situation, at least three individuals were arrested for various charges, including unlawful use of pepper spray and willfully obstructing officers in the course of their duties.”

Police did not release additional information, including the identities of the protesters detained.


Attempts to de-escalate the situation by police after the arrests “failed,” police said.

Inside, dozens of public speakers were having their say on their issue when the meeting’s live stream, viewed by the Los Angeles Times, “went dark.” School board President Nayiri Nahabedian then appeared and confirmed no one was allowed to enter–or leave the building. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, some planned performances by students were cancelled due to safety concerns.

“Once the protest exceeded the bounds of peaceful assembly and in adherence to our duty to protect public safety, a dispersal order was given just after 6:00 pm,” cops said. “Additional police resources were requested to ensure the safety of the Glendale community would not be compromised.”

The skirmish comes as school boards across the country grapple with growing calls to restrict teachings on race, gender and LGBTQ+ rights in schools. On Friday, the Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood was targeted by dozens of parents in protest of a Pride Month assembly.

On Monday, the Glendale Unified School District posted a message on Facebook, saying “intentional and harmful disinformation has been circulating about what is being taught in our district and the ways we serve our students.” Noting a disinformation campaign about LGBTQIA+ curriculum, sex education, and supporting transgender and gender non-conforming youth, the school said that over the past two weeks, Superintendent Vivian Ekchian, along with members of the Glendale Unified Board of Education and district leadership, “have been visiting with parents and guardians at many of our schools to clarify and correct this disinformation.”

Source: The Daily Beast


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