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California & National School Boards Association call for help from law enforcement following disruption, threats

Posted at 11:26 PM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-06 09:42:43-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – School board officials are calling for help from state and federal agencies when it comes school board meetings and the hostility they’ve been experiencing.

Poway Unified School District and Vista Unified School District board meetings have been either canceled or delayed due to protests in August and September.

In a letter, the California School Boards Association is now calling on Gov. Newsom and the California’s Attorney General to "to convince, command, or otherwise urge local law enforcement to uphold public health and safety orders, help maintain order at local school board meetings when requested, and enforce the law as they are sworn to do."

"What we want is just quick response from law enforcement, that they enforce those laws and make sure there's a safe atmosphere and that the meeting can continue,” Troy Flint, a spokesperson for California School Boards Association, said.

Flint said, to be clear, a small percentage of law enforcement agencies have been called out to these kind of situations, seen unlawful behavior but haven’t acted.

Some examples he mentioned were people not being escorting out of a meeting who preventing it from going on or not following mask mandates.

“We’re not looking for people, when I say people law enforcement specifically, to be posted outside of a school board meeting or anything like that unless there's been a pre-identified threat,” Flint said. “We don’t want to create an atmosphere where some people may feel intimidated or not welcome in the meeting.”

The National School Boards Association is making a similar request to President Biden, asking for federal agencies to do the same.

It’s something that Poway Unified's School Board President Ginger Courvette told ABC 10News is needed.

“We need to be able to do our work for our students,” Courvette said. “If we had more support so that we could remove the people who are causing us not to be able to proceed how we should, that would be extremely helpful.”

Both Poway’s school board president and CSBA embrace and respect people’s First Amendment right. And Courvette and Flint hope something can get done so school board members are able to do the jobs they were elected to do.

“We all don’t want to stay on Zoom. But without the support and protection that’s the only way to get the business done,” Courvette said.

CSBA said it’s working with their members in the meantime to do deescalation and other training for these hostile encounters.

Poway’s school board president tells ABC 10News the board has met with local law enforcement to figure out potential protocols and what could be done if officers called to a meeting.