A parent at Laurelwood Elementary School has filed charges of assault after a confrontation with a group of individuals handing out flyers outside of the school. It happened on Friday, Aug. 18.
According to the Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD), the group Informed Parents of Silicon Valley (IPSV) was handing flyers out to parents as they walked their children to class. The IPSV members were standing on a public sidewalk on Teal Drive.
An SCPD spokesperson say one of the parents passing by picked up an extra box of flyers belonging to IPSV and walked it onto the campus. One of the members of IPSV followed the parent onto campus and asked that the parent give the box back. That’s when a struggle over the box ensued.
The parent told SCPD officers the IPSV member bit her on the arm and that she wanted to press charges. The IPSV member was cited for assault and battery and released at the scene. An SCPD spokesperson says the case was handed over to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office to determine if the IPSV member will face charges.
A witness who asked to remain nameless wrote to The Weekly and said that members of the IPSV group told one staff member that school test scores were going down because the school teaches gender inclusivity. The witness says at least one staff member was called a vile name.
The Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) issued a letter to parents on Monday to address IPSV pamphlet distributions. The district says that the group is expected to continue leafleting at SCUSD school sites during morning drop-off for the next few weeks.
The letter clearly states that this group is in no way affiliated with the school district.
“We want to be clear that this group is not affiliated with Santa Clara Unified School District or our partner associations in any way,” wrote District Superintendent Dr. Gary Waddell in a letter to parents signed by himself and the members SCUSD’s Board of Trustees. “Parents, guardians, and other community members have no obligation to engage with the group or accept their flyers, including not rolling down car windows.”
The District says that under the right to free speech, it cannot stop groups from distributing leaflets on public sidewalks. SCUSD has encouraged staff to maintain professionalism, even when IPSV members have become verbally “aggressive.”
The District says IPSV has, at times, been disruptive including unsolicited approaching and stopping of parents/caregivers driving or walking their kids to school.
“As a district, we are deeply concerned about the impact of the group’s behavior on students’ right to access a free public education, on the sense of safety our students’ should experience in their learning environments, and on the sense of safety our staff should experience in their work environments,” read the letter.
“We respect any group’s right to free speech and encourage the peaceful exercise of that right, mutual respect, and professionalism at all times. However, the reported escalating harassment by IPSV members and their actions on Friday crossed a line of constitutionally-protected free speech,” continued the letter.
The District says Friday’s events have led it to seek any legal remedies to “protect the safety and rights of our children, families, and staff.” Until a solution is found, the District Office has started sending administrators and staff to campuses where the IPSV members are leafleting.
IPSV’s website says it is a nonprofit organization focused on “a family values based, child centered curriculum.”
According to IPSV’s website: “We humbly and respectfully speak truth to power. We seek measures that protect our children and grandchildren. We work to bring into the light of day the divisive teachings of Critical Race Theory and Comprehensive Sexuality Education in our schools.”