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Poway Unified: Group of protesters who 'forced their way inside' offices delay meeting

let them breathe rally poway unified 9_9_2021.png
Posted at 2:30 PM, Sep 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 20:24:43-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Thursday's meeting of the Poway Unified Board of Education was delayed after protesters reportedly "forced their way inside" the district's offices.

In a statement from the district, officials said the board was advised by law enforcement to adjourn its meeting after, "a small, disruptive group forced their way inside the district office, pushing past staff. The group was politely asked to leave but refused."

Wednesday, demonstrators with the group, Let Them Breathe, gathered in front of the district's offices.

According to the board, the meeting was to include limited in-person attendance due to COVID-19 policies but allowed the public to sign up online to speak. The meeting was also being live streamed, the district added.

"The Poway Unified Board of Education has a vested interest in including the public in our meetings, and we have a well-established process to do so. This meeting was clearly posted as a meeting with limited in-person attendance due to COVID safety protocols, defined under the Governor’s modified health order which temporarily allows public comments and attendance via teleconference. The meeting is live streamed and accessible to the public, and there were dozens of members of the public who signed up in advance, waiting to speak via the online link. Just this week alone, Board members received nearly a thousand emails from our stakeholders respectfully advocating their opinions and positions on various topics," the district's statement read in part.

PUSD's statement continued: "However, due to the ongoing presence of protesters who refused to leave the meeting room and verbally abused the staff, law enforcement advised adjourning the meeting to ensure the safety of our staff and students. This is an unfortunate example of modeling inappropriate behavior for our students and children who were present. The Board encourages civil discourse, but this type of behavior will not be tolerated at any meetings."

Wednesday, a PUSD spokesperson told ABC 10News that no arrests had been made.

No further information from the district was immediately released.