Attendees of mostly Muslim descent grew rowdy after told fire marshal could shut down important board meeting.
Hundreds of parents of mostly Muslim descent packed out a Dearborn, Michigan, school board meeting upset over sexually graphic LGBTQ books, however the meeting was cut short after attendees grew unruly.
The meeting centered around fleshing out a new procedure regarding how the district would go about reviewing and approving books to be stricken from the curriculum.
More details on the background of the meeting from MyNBC15.com:
Dearborn Public Schools (DPS) is one of the latest districts facing controversy over questionable books available to students. Last month, the school board temporarily removed seven books from circulation following claims from parents that they included inappropriate content. The titles included This Book is Gay, The Lovely Bones and Red, White and Royal Blue.
At the time, the district stressed that it had not banned any books, and was only pulling the titles so it could evaluate if they are age-appropriate and present content in an acceptable manner. If it deems they are, these books will be put back on the shelves.
Monday’s board meeting was meant to introduce DPS’s new criteria and resources for conducting these evaluations. These resources include a Parent Opt Out for Media Materials form, which parents can use to share their opposition to a book, prompting a review.
At that point, if parents are not satisfied with the results of the review, they can then ask for a reconsideration, and the matter will be sent to a panel of students, teacher, librarians and community members to make the final decision.
Many parents are not satisfied with these procedures, and attended the board meeting to voice their frustrations.
Tensions rose after Board President Roxanne McDonald set a maximum three-minute time limit on speakers.
MyNBC15.com reports: “‘You have no right to sit there and tell us we can’t talk,’ one community member said. He was met with cheers, which then turned into boos directed at the board.”
In the lead-up to the chaotic meeting’s abrupt end, one man attempted to explain a problematic fire code violation to the crowd, which was already agitated over the subject matter.
“We’re not fighting the board,” the man told meeting attendees, trying to calm them. “We’re working with the board as parents and public and taxpayers…we have to work together because the law supports the parents for the students’ education.”
“However, in this case through the hallways, the setting right here, we’re breaking the fire code,” the man said, going on to point out speakers would be allowed to stay but all others should exit the building and watch the proceedings on YouTube.
Attendees, however, balked at the proposal, and grew rowdy.
Another man then attempted to tell the crowd the fire marshal had ordered the meeting terminated if the request was not followed.
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