Police Called To School Board Meeting That Turned Violent

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | 1 week ago

board meeting

The public education system is struggling. From changing district policies to school boards that ignore parents’ concerns at board meetings, parents and teachers are fed up with some harmful policies and the mishandling of COVID-19 pandemic protocols. While most heated arguments between parents and board members have remained purely verbal, the events at Monday’s West Park Elementary School District grew so tense that a physical altercation occurred and police had to be called. 

This board meeting in West Park, south of Fresno, was filled with parents who have voiced concerns for months. During the 2021-2022 school year numerous teachers and staff members have resigned from the district, and at least 3 different Superintendents have been hired since December. On Monday night parents came to discuss growing issues, but after continuously being unheard they began to shout. The husband of the board trustee, Juan Benavidez, told everyone to be quiet. A mother got in his face and grabbed his arm. 

This was resolved peacefully but then Benavidez called his granddaughter and she came to the school. Just outside the board meeting, she confronted the mother involved and a physical altercation occurred. The Fresno County Sheriff’s office was alerted and arrived to intervene. 

Neither party wished to press charges and no one was arrested, but this board meeting incident displays a larger issue. In recent years public schools have grown more extreme in their support of biased teachings, and political propaganda. In addition, children have suffered learning loss due to excessive pandemic protocols which have widened the divide between teachers and the communities they serve.

Just last fall two highly controversial board meeting disagreements between parents and school board members made national headlines. In October a Loudoun County father was arrested for calling out board members for trying to cover up the rape of his daughter by a biological male in a girls restroom. Political debate over transgender minors’ right to choose what bathrooms and locker rooms they have access to erupted. The incident was reported on all sides, but what didn’t make as many headlines was the fact that the student in question pled “no contest” to abduction and sexual battery. This was shortly after he was convicted of forcible sodomy and forcible fellacio.

The other high-profile school board meeting issue, which occurred around the same time frame, regarded parents who wished for young adult books with pornographic images to be removed from school libraries. This concerned 2 LGBTQ titles with graphic illustrations displaying sex acts. For a short time, the books were removed until further notice, but after reviewing the material, school officials re-instated them in the name of diversity and inclusion — because showing underage minors sexual content is considered appropriate to the public education system so long as it aids the LGBTQ cause. 

board meeting

When parents attend school board meetings concerning serious issues that affect their children’s development most do not expect to be arrested or ignored. Unfortunately, both responses have been displayed by school officials across the country in recent years. While the parents in West Park are working to guide their children and seeking answers from board members, the tension between the two groups has grown to such a degree that a fight broke out outside of Monday’s meeting. Hopefully, the community will heal and everyone involved will work together, but if not, some parents in the area have already expressed a desire to seek education alternatives like charter schools, microschools, or homeschooling.