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Education

Poway School Board Meeting Crashed By Protestors

The Poway Unified School District's main office.
Andi Dukleth
The Poway Unified School District's main office.

Poway Unified School District had a scheduled board meeting Thursday night.

Their agenda informed the public that the meeting would be livestreamed and public comments were allowed only on Zoom.

All of the agenda items went unaddressed because protestors caused the meeting to adjourn.

A Let Them Breathe rally took place outside of the district offices before the meeting.

Gabriela Dow, a Poway Unified School district parent, stopped at the district office to drop off a written comment because she missed the deadline to submit.

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Protestors rally outside the Poway Unified School District offices before a board meeting. September 9, 2021.
Gabriela Dow
Protestors rally outside the Poway Unified School District offices before a board meeting. September 9, 2021.

When she arrived she saw the protestors entering the building.

“We walked over and saw that there was nobody left outside and I saw some of the district staff. I went up and asked them ‘so is public comment now allowed in person?'” she said.

“District staff just looked kind of stunned and said ‘no these people just rushed in and we told them they're not allowed to be here but they refuse to leave and police are gonna come because they won't leave,’” said Dow.

After a delay, school board members returned to the livestreamed meeting only to adjourn.

A board member announced, “We asked the protestors to leave and they refused. This meeting was posted as a closed meeting and they are trespassing. We have been advised by law enforcement to adjourn this meeting at 7:11.”

Sharon McKeeman, the leader of the Let Them Breathe group, said her organization only provides signage resources for rallies.

Signs protesting 'critical race theory' sit on the ground outside the Poway School District offices. September 9, 2021.
Gabriela Dow
Signs protesting 'critical race theory' sit on the ground outside the Poway School District offices. September 9, 2021.

She said parents can then gather to express from their own point of view.

“If meetings are being held virtually and not open to the public, then Let Them Breathe would never encourage parents to enter those meetings,” said McKeeman.

Dow said the protestors had various signs, but none were related to items on the agenda.

“People were holding signs saying ethnic studies are racism and terrorism, that's a whole other situation. Political signs ... Larry Elder ... and so there seemed to be a lot of different topics that this group was all protesting together and disrupted the meeting,” Dow said.

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She said she didn't recognize any of the protestors from the Poway community, but she did recognize some of them from the recent San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting.

"This is not what we teach our kids, they don't go into the classroom and disrupt the teachers. The protestors just wasted people's time and are creating more stress in an already challenging environment," she said.

A new date for Poway's School Board meeting has not been announced.