GLENDALE (CNS) – The Glendale Unified School District Board of Education will have its final meeting of the 2022-23 school year today, two weeks after its discussion of a motion to recognize June as Pride Month sparked protests that turned violent and led to at least three arrests.
Chatter making the rounds on social media suggested more protests could materialize at Tuesday’s meeting, although there were no specific items on the agenda relating to the LGBTQ+ community or relevant curriculum.
A group of LGBTQ+ advocates called Queer Nation LA urged supporters to turn out in force at the GUSD board meeting “to outnumber the fascists trying to eradicate trans and queer lives from public education in the U.S. and beyond.”
The group’s posts suggested that an “allied group of GUSD parents” will attend the meeting to speak in support of LGBTQ+ kids, and “we additionally want to support and protect them through our presence there.”
The Glendale Police Department issued a statement saying the agency is “fully prepared and equipped to safeguard and protect our community, including against any agitators desiring to utilize this planned protest as an opportunity to cause violence and disturbances.”
“We would also like to remind those participating in the protest or demonstration that unlawful conduct in the city of Glendale, including violence, will not be tolerated,” police said. “Any groups or individuals wishing to engage in violence or criminal activity will be swiftly identified and arrested by the Glendale Police Department.”
On June 6, the board was considering a motion — which it has approved uneventfully in recent years — recognizing June as Pride Month. The vote, coming on the heels of a much-debated Pride Month assembly at a North Hollywood high school that prompted vocal protests, led to hundreds of people gathering outside district headquarters. Clashes quickly erupted, leading to isolated fistfights that prompted a brief shelter-in-place order inside the board meeting.
Police said three people were arrested during the melee.
Officers ultimately set up skirmish lines looking to keep the various protest groups apart and restore order. The board eventually approved the Pride motion.
Parents at both the North Hollywood and Glendale protests insisted they do not object to the LGBTQ+ community, but do not want lessons on the topic incorporated into elementary school curriculum.
Following the June 6 protests, the district issued a statement saying “intentional and harmful disinformation has been circulating about what is being taught in our district and the ways we serve our students. This includes disinformation about LGBTQIA+ curriculum, sex education and gender non-conforming youth.”
The district issued an informational document outlining the process of selecting a curriculum and its adherence to state educational guidelines. The document notes that “elementary curriculum related to diversity, including LGBTQ+ issues, is focused on highlighting all different types of families. The elementary curriculum does not include specific information about LGBTQ+ or gender identity.”
Glendale police Chief Manuel Cid issued a statement after the June 6 meeting blaming “agitators on both sides of the issue” for inciting the violence that erupted.
“While passionate and boisterous, the protest was largely peaceful, allowing community members to voice their perspectives on issues surrounding the school district,” Cid said. “Unfortunately, a handful of agitators, on both sides of the issue, arrived at the demonstration with a clear desire to confront and incite violence, ultimately engaging in physical assaults. Glendale police officers responded to these fights swiftly and professionally, quickly making arrests and restoring order to the situation.
“Moving forward, the Glendale Police Department will use all the investigative tools available to us to identify any persons responsible for acts of violence at yesterday’s protest and bring them to justice. The Glendale Police Department and the Glendale community will continue to honor and protect people’s right to free speech and assembly. However, individuals who wish to incite disorder and violence in our community will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly by our police department.”
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