Protesters brawl as Southern California school district moves to recognize Pride month

GLENDALE, Calif. (AP) — Protesters briefly brawled and punches flew Tuesday as a Southern California school district moved to recognize June as Pride Month.

Several hundred people gathered in the parking lot of Glendale Unified School District headquarters, split between those supporting or opposing teaching about youth exposure to LGBTQ+ issues in schools. Some opponents wore T-shirts emblazoned with: “Leave our children alone”.

It was the same slogan used by some demonstrators last Friday outside Saticoy Elementary School in Los Angeles to protest a planned Pride rally.

As in Glendale, the police had to separate the groups of protesters and counter-protesters who came to blows.

Across the country, Pride Month celebrations are starting amid a growing backlash in some places against LGBTQ+ rights. Community parade organizers, school districts and even professional athletic conditions have faced protests for displaying rainbow flags and honoring drag artists. While some Republican-led states limit classroom conversations about gender and sexuality and ban gender-affirming care, some Democratic cities and states seek to expand LGBTQ+ rights and honor community contributions.

In Glendale, police quickly intervened to stop the clashes, separated the two groups and cleared the parking lot. At least three people were arrested, including a man who was lying on the ground and refusing to leave, TV reports showed.

No injuries were reported.

In the packed meeting room, the school board considered whether to pass a resolution designating June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month, as it has done for the past four years.

The session was suspended during the clashes, but resumed after an hour. No vote had taken place late Tuesday evening.

Earlier Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District School Board voted unanimously to recognize Pride Month. The board of the nation’s second-largest school district also affirmed its “commitment to creating a safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment for all LGBTQ+ students, families, and staff,” according to a district statement.

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