GLENDALE, Calif. (NewsNation) — Demonstrators clashed and fights erupted during a protest Tuesday outside a meeting of a California, which was scheduled to vote on recognizing June as Pride Month and incorporating lessons about the LGBTQ+ community.
Large barricades were set up by police to separate the two contentious groups outside the Glendale Unified School District headquarters. Attendees were made up of about 500 parents and community members alike.
It’s not clear what led up to this confrontation on a nearby street, but at least three people were arrested after chaos broke out amid the meeting.
Police said most demonstrators were peaceful, with only a small group engaging in “behavior deemed unsafe and a risk to public safety.”
While the fights forced school board members to pause their hearing, they unanimously approved recognizing June as Pride Month, which it has done for the last four years.
Demonstrators from both sides showed up to either support or protest the school board’s meeting for a consideration resolution on the LGBTQ+ curriculum.
Advocates said some of the curriculum is required by state law and highlights lessons on diversity and the contribution of LGBTQ+ leaders. However, opponents said that they want more transparency and more options to opt out.
“No one is handing us a curriculum and saying you have to teach kids to be gay. I don’t think they know what they’re talking about and we don’t have any LGBTQ+ curriculum we just don’t leave gay people out of the equation,” one parent said. “We’re talking about children who are not ready for such choices. It confuses them and ultimately these are the things that parents should decide.”
Glendale School District Superintendent Vivian Vekchian disagrees with that idea. She said representation is especially important in schools as being an LGBTQ+ person is not a choice.
“Our primary focus in our school district is to be inclusive,” said Vekchian. “Every student matters, every family member matters. We do follow state laws and California Department of Education guidelines.”
Glendale school officials told NewsNation affiliate KTLA that the Pride-inclusive curriculum is nothing new and has been in effect since 2019. However, the resolution is presented for reconsideration annually.
NewsNation affiliate KTLA contributed to this report.