LANCASTER — Antelope Valley Union High School District’s Board of Education cleared the room and took an approximately 10-minute break after some audience members grew disruptive during public comments on non-agendized items at Wednesday night’s meeting.
The Board is not permitted to engage in a dialogue with the public during public comment on non-agendized items.
The trouble began when some audience members interrupted parent Mikki Martinez as she addressed the Board about state mandates calling for students and staff to wear a mask. She also took exception to state mandates that require school employees to either show proof of vaccination status or submit to weekly testing.
“You are setting those students and staff members up to be judged, scrutinized and harassed by anyone who does not agree with their personal private decision to not take a shot for a virus with a 99% survival rate,” Martinez said. “Also, a shot does not prevent one from catching or spreading the virus.”
The audience stirred after Martinez finished speaking.
Board President Jill McGrady asked audience members to be respectful when others are talking.
“I’m asking those of you in the audience whether you agree with the speaker or not to be polite,” McGrady said. “And please don’t yell things.”
McGrady called for a five-minute break to clear the room when audience member Isabel Flax grew agitated and started shouting, leading to more disruptions from the crowd.
The intended five-minute break lasted about 10 minutes.
After the audience was brought back in to the boardroom, audience members who submitted speaker cards were permitted to address the Board.
Activist Christian Green, campaign coordinator for Cancel the Contract, asked the Board about MiKayla Robinson, the 16-year-old Lancaster High School student caught in a viral video being body-slammed at school by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s school resource deputy this past August.
The incident is under investigation.
“How would you feel if you were body slammed?” Green said.
Green also addressed school suspensions.
“When we look at these arrests and when we look at these suspensions, when we look at who’s being over-policed, we look at Black and brown students,” Green said. “The sad thing is they’re continually being over-policed.”
Flax referenced a Long Beach Unified School District school safety officer who, on Sept. 27, opened fire on a moving car filled with young people, critically wounding an 18-year-old woman, who later died.
“As part of cancel the contract, we demand that you guys write letters on behalf of the community to get these SRO officers out,” Flax said. “Do you guys want to be like that young lady in Long Beach? Do you guys want a life on your head for not getting them out of schools when you could have?”
Speaker Hal Steinberg referenced a Washington state law and said schools must clarify when a school resource deputy should intervene.
“Is that how we want to be treating our students when they get slightly out of hand — body slam them?” Steinberg said.
Melissa Amezcan, a parent and social worker, said parents are continuing to be marginalized by government overreach. She also does not agree with defunding the police.
“I do believe that there needs to be some law and order in regards to policies in regard to what this gentleman was saying as far as crisis intervention to keep our students safe,” Amezcan said.
Cory Dozier, a Class of 2021 graduate, also spoke on behalf of the Cancel the Contract.
“Why have police on campus and security guards?” Dozier said. “What is the difference? I think security guards have a lower standard. They go in the same place as police officers and they go through the same things but with no guns.”
Dozier also asked the Board to look into student depression.
“I just think that high schools could use money for different resources, like, what school in the Antelope Valley has home ec program, or anything that goes with, like, cooking, or how to pay bills,” Dozier said.