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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Gustaf Kilander

Brawl breaks out at LA school discussing Pride month celebrations


Police arrested at least three people after a brawl erupted between those against and those in support of the Glendale Unified School District recognising June as Pride Month.

The fight took place on Tuesday outside the school board meeting in Los Angeles as footage spread on social media showing police stepping in to break up the commotion.

Members of the school board unanimously supported the suggestion that June be recognised as Pride Month. Police issued an order to disperse just after 6pm, according to Newsweek. The board has recognised Pride Month for four years.

A number of companies have been targeted by right-wing boycott campaigns after the firms announced Pride-themed product lines.

Target was slammed by social conservatives for its sale of LGBT+ items, as was Bud Light after it collaborated with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Protesters arrived outside the school board meeting during the day on Tuesday. Some of the anti-LGBT+ group members waved American flags and chanted “Leave our kids alone”, and also wore t-shirts bearing the slogan, as those on the other end waved Pride flags.

Both sides gathered their supporters via social media, telling them to show up at the board building ahead of the meeting, police said. About 500 people were present on Tuesday night, according to KABC.

Freelance reporter Sergio Olmos tweeted a video showing the “physical brawl ... between anti-LGBTQ protestors and LGBTQ supporters outside the Glendale Unified school board meeting in Los Angeles”.

One man was kicked on several occasions after he fell to the ground. Police stepped in, wielding batons.

“While most of the protest was peaceful, a small group of individuals engaged in behavior deemed unsafe and a risk to public safety,” police said in a statement. “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. After the initial arrests, additional attempts to de-escalate the crowd failed.”

The right-wing protesters slammed gender and sexual identity studies despite the issue not being part of the meeting agenda, The Washington Post noted.

A number of people opposing LGBT+ rights were identified on social media as being members of the Proud Boys. The far-right group were active in the insurrection on January 6 2021 and has a violent history.

A spokesperson for Glendale police told the paper that officials have “not yet identified specific groups or individuals representing particular groups related to the protest”.

“We have seen the online posts and will look to identify the agitators from both sides,” the police added.

A barrier was later established around the building where the board was meeting.

The three individuals detained by police were arrested on charges including unlawful use of pepper spray and willfully obstructing officers in the course of their duties, police said.

After the arrest didn’t prevent further brawling, the police issued the order to disperse to “protect public safety”.

Glendale Unified Superintendent Vivian Ekchian told KABC that inaccurate information was being shared online suggesting that the district was adhering to the state’s curriculum.

“We have absolutely no agenda,” Dr Ekchian said. “We are not in the business of converting anyone’s child.”

On Monday, the school district wrote on Facebook that “intentional and harmful disinformation has been circulating about what is being taught in our district and the ways we serve our students”.

Democrat Adam Schiff represents the district in the US House.

“These continued acts of violence and hate towards our LGBTQ community – especially towards students, parents, and teachers – are horrific. All of our children deserve to both feel safe and be safe regardless of who they love or how they identify. We will not go back. We will not apologize for celebrating the strength and the diversity of our LGBTQ community,” he tweeted.

No injuries were reported from the brawl, according to the AP. The school board meeting paused as the fight took place outside, with the vote going ahead later on Tuesday night.

Previously on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District school board unanimously approved a resolution to recognize June as Pride Month.

The district is the second largest in the US. It said in a statement that it also made a “commitment to creating a safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment for all LGBTQ+ students, families, and staff members”.

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