LOS ANGELES - Tensions grew high outside an elementary school in North Hollywood Friday as a scheduled Pride event drew a large crowd of parents and community members – some against and some in support of the event.
"It is a sad morning. Anytime an educational environment is disrupted is not a good thing," Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho told FOX 11. "As a superintendent, as a parent and as an educator, we should not accept kids being political pawns and sadly, that’s what’s happening here."
At one point, Los Angeles Police Department officers stepped in when a fight broke out. They remained at the scene for crowd control.
A flyer circulating among the Saticoy Elementary School community detailed the June 2 protest to counter a Pride event in which an assembly and teachers were set to read students a book by Mary Hoffman titled "The Great Big Book of Families," which talks about diversity and "all kinds of families."
"LAUSD has announced that on June 2nd school wide from K-12 students will be taught about LGBTQ+ during an assembly. Videos will be shown to the students including one where it says, ‘some kids have 2 mommies, some have 2 daddies.’ This has caused outrage among parents, many of them emailing/calling LAUSD higher ups to complain about this day and protesting by not taking their children to school that day."
On Friday, Carvalho added the teachers at the school have had a difficult time as more people became aware of the event. The planned protest also comes as the LAPD continues to investigate a break-in and vandalism at Saticoy Elementary over the weekend as a "hate-motivated incident," an LAUSD spokesperson confirmed.
"Over the past two weeks, individuals at this school have been threatened and assaulted just for being who they are. A Flag that represents many members of our community was burned. That’s just unacceptable," he said.
The district said parents had the option of having their child skip the program.
Parents who opposed the program launched an Instagram account, Saticoy Elementary Parents. A message posted on the Instagram page tells parents "who share conservative values" and "don’t feel this material is appropriate to teach to the children" to protest outside the school at the start of the school day on June 2.
The district released the following statement in response to the planned protest:
"Los Angeles Unified is committed to creating a safe and inclusive learning environment that embraces the diversity of the communities we serve. The District encourages everyone in our school communities to treat each other with respect, kindness and compassion so that our students can be empowered to achieve their greatest potential.As part of our engagement with school communities, our schools regularly discuss the diversity of the families that we serve and the importance of inclusion. This remains an active discussion with our school communities and we remain committed to continuing to engage with families about this important topic. Families are always encouraged to discuss important topics with their children and families may also contact their schools for more information about any school programs or activities."
No arrests were made, according to the LAPD.