On Friday, during a Pride Month event at an elementary school in the Los Angeles area, the situation escalated into several brawls as parent protesters became confrontational. The intensity of the situation prompted the intervention of law enforcement. This incident occurred just a few weeks after a Pride flag belonging to a transgender teacher was set on fire at the same school premises.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a crowd of more than 100 parents staged a protest against the Pride Day assembly held at Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood. Reports indicate that many of the protesters expressed their outrage by holding signs with messages such as “Parental choice matters” and “No pride in grooming.” Additionally, a truck with a large trailer bearing a red banner stating “Leave our kids alone” was present at the demonstration.
The protesting parents faced off against another group of over 100 demonstrators gathered across the street in support of LGBTQIA+ rights and the ongoing Pride Month, which began on June 1.
During the tense event, at least two scuffles reportedly occurred, as reported by NBC Los Angeles. It remains unclear if any injuries or arrests were made in relation to these incidents.
As per reports, the Friday assembly at Saticoy Elementary School was dedicated to Gay Pride and Rainbow Day. The event was intended to include a reading of the book “The Great Big Book of Families” by Mary Hoffman.
Parents had the option to request that their children not participate in the program. Los Angeles Unified District Superintendent Alberto Carvalho addressed concerned parents outside the school on Friday, emphasizing that there was no explicit sexual education content in relation to the book.
Carvalho stated that the book portrays a reality that is both common and relevant to children, assuring parents that the material had been approved by the school district.
One woman, Karine, 40, told the LA Times that she was fed up with “propaganda,” and was frustrated that her Saticoy third-grader came home from school with rainbow stickers and other items last week.
“I didn’t come from Armenia for this,” she said of the inclusive material.
“I came for freedom and for my children to learn about math and education, not about this. I might go back home.”
One of the clashes took place when Karine and other protesters attempted to cross the street to the pro-Pride side, which prompted police to intervene, the outlet said.
Renato Lira, director of the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center in Van Nuys, yelled at the protesters to “get educated.”
“They needed to talk to actual gay people and parents,” he told the LA Times.
Tabitha Davis, 44, attended the protest wearing a transgender pride flag as a symbol of support and donned a sweater with the message, “You deserve to be happy.” Davis, who has a transgender child attending a different school in the district, expressed her belief that it is her responsibility to advocate for the safety and well-being of others.
The protest on Friday was organized by a group called Saticoy Elementary Parents. Despite their opposition to the event, the group took to social media to clarify that their demonstration was not intended as an attack on the LGBTQIA+ community. In an Instagram post shared on Thursday, they emphasized their position by stating, “We want to reiterate that our protest is in no way an attack on the LGBTQ community,”
“We recognize the importance of promoting equality and acceptance for all individuals.”
Despite their claim of not targeting the LGBTQIA+ community, the Saticoy Elementary Parents group distributed fliers encouraging parents to keep their children “home and innocent” instead of attending the event on Friday.
Tensions have been building within the Saticoy community for several weeks and escalated when a small Pride flag belonging to a transgender teacher was burned over the weekend of May 20-21. The incident is currently being investigated by the police as a potential hate crime, as reported by NBC Los Angeles.
According to the outlet, security measures were reinforced outside the school on Friday, which involved the presence of Los Angeles Police Department officers.
The Los Angeles Unified School District issued a statement emphasizing their unwavering dedication to upholding a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for all students despite the ongoing controversy.