A small Pride flag outside a Los Angeles elementary school was burned in what police are characterizing as a hate crime. The incident comes as a group of conservative parents with children enrolled at Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood has opposed the school’s upcoming Pride Day assembly, scheduled for June 2.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the burned flag, which was placed in a planter outside a classroom, was found on the morning of May 22. Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Valley Bureau told the paper that he did not know precisely when the flag was burned and added that there are no suspects so far.
The legislator’s spokesperson said he filed the amendment by accident. Yeah… “whoops.”
“The investigation is ongoing,” Hamilton said. “It is a vandalism hate crime. The hate crime is still significant but it is a misdemeanor.”
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Earlier this month, a group of conservative parents launched a campaign against the upcoming Pride assembly, calling for parents to keep their children home on June 2 and to show up at the school to protest the event.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District told KTLA 5 that the assembly will feature teachers reading to students from The Great Big Book of Families. The book, which is aimed at 3–7-year-olds, highlights diverse types of families, including those of same-sex couples. The district also confirmed that the assembly is optional for students whose parents object to it.
One parent involved with the group opposing the assembly insisted that they are not anti-LGBTQ+, but simply believe that the subject is not appropriate for elementary school children — despite the fact that some students at Saticoy Elementary reportedly have LGBTQ+ parents.
A May 16 post on the group’s Instagram account, Saticoy Elementary Parents, characterized “any topic that is related to LGBTQ” as “sexually explicit.” The account also features posts pushing the false, anti-LGBTQ+ “groomer” narrative. The group also reportedly opposed the school district’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
“We respect everyone, but some things are appropriate for children (of) that age, and some things are not,” George Dzhabroyan, a parent who opposes the assembly, told the aforementioned TV news station. “Hopefully the message gets across and people understand that parents should be the primary contact of what their children should be exposed to and shouldn’t be exposed to.”
“None of us parents are aware of who the person might have been who set the flag on fire,” Ana, who is involved with Saticoy Elementary Parents and asked that her last name be withheld, told the Los Angeles Daily News. “None of us would jump the fence or set the flag on fire because we don’t want to bring that negativity to the school where our children are.”
The group reportedly intends to go ahead with its protest on Friday. They have been handing out fliers in the community, including at other schools, urging parents to keep their kids “home and innocent” on June 2.
Roberto Salcedo, a teacher at Monlux Elementary, described the flyer as “bone-chilling.”
“If you really read it for what it is, it’s to incite hatred against people who are different,” he said. “The message I want parents to realize is that we are all different and we all need to respect our differences.”
“We have a real concern over what is going on. We have three teachers who are LGBTQ at that campus. And two parents are LGBTQ who bring their kids to that school,” Renato Lira, executive director of the San Fernando Valley LGBTQ Center, said.
Lira told the Los Angeles Daily News that volunteers from the center plan to escort LGBTQ+ parents and their kids to Saticoy Elementary on the day of the assembly. The center also donated a full-sized Progress Pride flag to display outside the classroom where the smaller flag was burned.
“We raised that flag to let them know we are going to be stronger and united,” Lira said.