While administrators discussed the differences in opinion over the district’s LGBTQ+ policies inside a California school board meeting, a brawl broke out outside and at least three people were arrested, police said.
A small group among the several hundred protesters outside the Glendale Unified School Board meeting engaged in what police called “unsafe behavior” and posed “a risk to public safety.”
The school board was set to take action on a resolution proclaiming June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, according to the meeting agenda.
Dozens of parents, students, and other members of the public weighed in during the public comment session, some pushing for inclusion and respect, others expressing concern over indoctrination and grooming.
Several punches were thrown outside within the group of protesters before police were able to separate the crowd, scene video from CNN affiliate KCAL shows.
“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,” a release from the Glendale Police Department said.
After the arrests, “additional attempts to de-escalate the crowd failed,” police said. Because “the protest exceeded the bounds of peaceful assembly,” police said, a dispersal order was issued just after 6 p.m.
“The Glendale Police Department has not yet identified specific groups or individuals representing particular groups related to the protest,” police said in a subsequent statement. “We have seen the online posts and will look to identify the agitators from both sides. We anticipate the investigation will reveal additional details.”
The resolution up for discussion at the meeting states in part: “California state law prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying towards LGBTQ+ youth and bullying in schools is a serious matter that impacts students’ health and safety.”
The board unanimously approved the resolution Tuesday evening.
“In Glendale Unified, we are committed to providing a safe, inclusive environment where every child can learn and thrive,” the district said in a statement. “We follow all laws and policies established by the California legislature and Department of Education.
“We know that kids do better when their parents are involved in their education. We work with parents as partners and encourage all parents and other caregivers to be inquisitive and engaged with what is going on in our school community. Let’s continue to work together, commit to having difficult conversations, ask questions, and maintain a civil discourse for the benefit of all students.”
Gov. Gavin Newson in a statement praised the district “for standing tall against this organized campaign of hate.”
“In California, we celebrate the beauty of pluralism — how our diverse communities, heritages, and identities belong and, together, make us whole,” Newsom said. “Glendale represents the best of this commitment, but the hate we saw on full display last night does not. What should have been a routine vote — simply recognizing Pride Month for the fourth year in a row — turned to violence.”
On Tuesday, for the first time in its four-decade history, America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization declared a national state of emergency for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
In making its declaration – just a few days into Pride Month – the Human Rights Campaign’s president, Kelley Robinson, said, “The multiplying threats facing millions in our community are not just perceived – they are real, tangible and dangerous.”
A similar, less violent protest took place at an elementary school in North Hollywood last week over a Pride Month assembly, with parents claiming students would be shown videos that show families with two moms or two dads.
That protest followed an incident at the same school where a Pride flag was found burned at the elementary school sometime between May 19 and May 22, the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Unified School District said.