Protests at LA Elementary School Pride Month Assembly

Outside a Los Angeles elementary school that has become a hotspot for Pride month activities across California, police officers separated groups of protesters and counterprotesters on Friday.

Protesters outside the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Saticoy Elementary School wore T-shirts that read “Leave our kids alone.”

They carried banners that read “Parental Choice Matters” and “No Pride in Grooming.” Tensions at the school have been increasing since last month when a social media page was launched urging parents to keep their children at home on Friday, the day of the planned assembly.

Pride month celebrations are underway around the country, despite a growing pushback in some areas against LGBTQ+ rights.

Protests have been leveled at community parade organizers, school districts, and even professional sports leagues for flying rainbow flags and honoring drag artists.

While some Republican-led jurisdictions restrict gender and s*xuality discussions in schools and outlaw gender-affirming care, certain Democratic towns and states are working to extend LGBTQ+ rights and recognize the community’s contributions.

Kelly Gonez, a Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education member said the assembly went off without a hitch.

It included a reading of “The Great Big Book of Families,” which provides information about various family configurations such as single parents, LGBTQ+ parents, grandparents, and foster parents.

The school board wants to “listen and have these tough conversations” with parents who oppose the assembly.

“At the same time, I think it’s really important to be factual about what content was shared today, that it is age-appropriate, and that it’s simply about providing inclusive, welcoming environments to all of our students and families,” she added.

Protesters against the assembly outnumbered those in support outside the school. Some demonstrators identified themselves as parents of students in the district but refused to disclose their complete names during interviews, citing safety concerns. They generally felt that discussing LGBTQ+ problems in primary school was inappropriate.

Arielle Aldana, whose 6-year-old son attends Saticoy, said she was unaware of the assembly until she dropped him off at school on Friday. She joined the anti-assembly protest, calling it “frustrating” because the school didn’t notify parents about the topic ahead of time.

Aldana stated that she does not believe it is acceptable for elementary school but would be fine for her son in middle school. “It has something to do with where he is developing,” she explained.

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Ray Jones, who uses the pronoun they, explained that they are a drag queen in North Hollywood and do not have children at the school, but felt it was necessary to attend.

Jones stated that they think LGBTQ+ subjects should be taught in elementary school. They claim those who disagree are conveying the incorrect message to youngsters with LGBTQ+ parents.

“I just don’t stand for that in my community,” Jones declared.

Hector Flores and his husband wore pride T-shirts to pick up their 6-year-old daughter after school on Friday. He stated that the counter-protesters helped their family.

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“All families are different, and we must respect them,” Flores added. “It all starts with a conversation, and kids these days grow up so fast.” That’s probably a discussion we should have at a young age.”

Saticoy Elementary Parents’ Instagram page declared Pride “an inappropriate topic for our kids!” According to one remark on the board, Christian families and those who “share conservative values don’t feel this material is appropriate to teach to children and believe it’s a parents’ right to choose.” It’s unclear who launched the page.

It also provides phone numbers and email addresses for district and school officials, inviting parents to contact them to express their displeasure with the event.

In May, a little Pride flag displayed outside by a transgender teacher was discovered burning. The school told parents the incident was being investigated as a hate crime.

District Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho stood outside the school, watching the protest.

“The unfortunate reality is that individuals who work at this school have been threatened and insulted simply for being who they are,” he told Fox 11. “A flag representing many members of our community was destroyed.” That is simply unacceptable. Over what, exactly? A book reference that symbolizes families in our communities.”

Carvalho stated that the book in question contains no s*x education.

“There’s nothing but a fair representation of the reality of families in our community,” he explained. “By excluding some, you are demonizing or dehumanizing some community members.” We live in a varied community, and we must embrace that.”

Several other California primary schools have been embroiled in controversies over Pride Month activities.

In San Diego County, a proposal to fly the Pride flag at the Chula Vista Elementary School District’s headquarters was defeated on a 2-2 vote with one member missing.

However, Francisco Tamayo, a board member who initially voted no, reintroduced the petition, citing concerns about hate speech directed at teachers, parents, and students. On Wednesday, the plan was defeated 4-1.

In other news, city officials in Davis, California, this week destroyed a rainbow crosswalk painted with chalk by elementary school kids to commemorate Pride Month. According to staffer Mara Seaton, the parent of a former pupil protested about the initiative.

However, the decoration was removed because crosswalk decorations are prohibited without prior approval. It obscured other lines on the crosswalk that was essential for visibility, He added that this weekend, rainbow crosswalks will still be permitted in a local park during the city’s Pride celebrations.

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