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At dueling LGBTQ+ protests outside Glendale school board meeting, violence erupts — again | #schoolsaftey


Pro- and anti-LGBTQ+ activists gathered outside as Glendale Unified School District Board of Education met for the first time since a melee erupted outside its June 6 session, during which the board adopted a resolution recognizing June as Pride Month. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Glendale Unified School District office was again the scene of violence as dueling groups protested over the teaching of gender and sexuality and whether it has a place in the classroom.

Tuesday night’s clash was the second this month between pro- and anti-LGBTQ+ activists outside a GUSD board meeting.

Around 7:15 p.m., a physical confrontation took place in the parking lot of a church near the district office on North Jackson Street where the meeting was held, drawing dozens of the protesters. Glendale police intervened.

Earlier, board President Nayiri Nahabedian addressed meeting attendees.

“I have pleaded for mutual respect as we undertake these difficult conversations and have said, even in our disagreements, let us see the humanity in one another,” Nahabedian said prior to the public comment portion of the meeting. “Unfortunately, what we witnessed at the last board meeting outside in the parking lot outside of the building was the predictable result of what happens when people do really the opposite.

Read more: 3 arrested outside Glendale school board in violent clashes over LGBTQ+ rights

“These things, folks, will create long-lasting divisions in our Glendale community,” she said, “that may never be repaired.”

Tuesday’s meeting came two weeks after demonstrations at the district office broke out in violence, resulting in the arrests of three people, as the board met to vote on recognizing June as Pride Month. The recognition was unanimously approved.

Among those protesting against LGBTQ+ issues at the June 6 meeting were reportedly members of the white nationalist Proud Boys group and other right-wing activists. Law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly as the board meeting was being held, temporarily halting the proceedings.

Although Tuesday’s board meeting had no Pride-related issues on the agenda, dozens of anti-LGBTQ+ activists gathered in the parking lot and lined up to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Glendale Police stretch out razor wire to separate a growing group of protesters

Glendale Police stretch out razor wire to separate a growing group of protesters surrounding a small gathering of pro-LGBTQ activists outside the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education meeting. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

At least 30 Glendale police officers stood across the building’s parking lot prior to the meeting, monitoring the gathering groups. Wooden striped barriers and rolls of fluorescent crowd-control wire were stacked in the center of the parking lot.

A Glendale man named Art, who refused to give his last name, said he had two elementary-school-age children in Glendale schools and had lived in the area for more than 20 years. He said he had nothing against LGBTQ+ people but did not like having the subject discussed in classrooms.

The Glendale Police Department issued a statement Tuesday that “unlawful conduct … including violence, will not be tolerated.”

Unlike at the June 6 meeting, which was dominated by pro-LGBTQ+ speakers, Tuesday’s speakers were more evenly split. Some railed against school board members and equated inclusion of LGBTQ+-related teaching materials to pedophilia; others thanked the board for its support of LGBTQ+ students.

Artineh Asadoorian, who said she was a GUSD parent, said she felt the school board’s inclusion of LGBTQ+ subjects was distracting from other issues facing students.

“The struggles you talk about do not represent the majority of your demographic,” Asadoorian said.

A speaker who identified herself as Amy thanked the board for its efforts at inclusivity.

“Despite the ridiculous rhetoric and misinformation and bigoted hate speech,” she said, “those of us who have not yet turned gay despite learning about the existence of gay and trans people, we still love and support the LBGTQ community and support what you’re doing to be inclusive because all our kids are normal.”

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, an anti-LGBTQ+ group that says it represent parents of district students, GUSD Parents’ Voices, urged its followers to attend, as it had for the June 6 meeting. In a post on Twitter, they were urged to speak during public comments “to protest for parents’ rights.”

A pro-LGBTQ+ group, GUSD Parents for Public Schools, voiced concerns prior to the protests.

“We are committed to ongoing, active participation and engagement in matters concerning our children’s education and the protection of our LGBTQ+ neighbors,” the group said in a statement. “However, it is equally important to prioritize safety for our families and the Glendale community as a whole when meetings are being used to generate dangerous street conflicts and social media disinformation.”

Tuesday’s protest came amid a flurry of demonstrations regarding LGBTQ+ issues and groups in the Los Angeles area.

On Friday, the main entrance to Dodger Stadium was briefly shut down as demonstrators protested the inclusion of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in pregame festivities.

That event was attended by right-wing figures including Jack Posobiec, who previously peddled the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, according to footage on social media.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.



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