LGBTQ flag burned at North Hollywood elementary school as some parents oppose Pride event

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Wednesday, May 31, 2023
LGBTQ flag burned at SoCal elementary school ahead of Pride event
An LGBTQ Pride flag was burned at an elementary school in North Hollywood and police are now investigating it as a possible hate crime.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An LGBTQ Pride flag was burned at an elementary school in North Hollywood and police are now investigating it as a possible hate crime.

Before it was burned, the small flag was displayed in a planter outside of a classroom at Saticoy Elementary School. The Los Angeles Police Department says it took a report last week and launched a hate crime vandalism investigation.

It's not clear who burned it, but a new larger flag is now on display outside the classroom.

The incident seems to be part of a deeper divide among parents over whether LGBTQ and Pride issues should be taught in grade school. And it comes as the school plans to hold a Pride Day assembly on Friday.

Just days before the burned flag was discovered, an Instagram page was created by a group of parents encouraging others to keep their kids home to protest the assembly.

Organizers of the parent protest say the planned event has caused outrage. They say the school has a large population of Armenian and Hispanic families, many of whom are Christian or share conservative values. They don't feel that Pride material is appropriate to teach children.

Jack Satamian has two children at Saticoy. He's among the group of parents planning to keep his children home on Friday, and believes children should not be taught about "any kind of sexual preferences."

"I didn't bring them into this world for a teacher to explain to them what is gay -- or what two men or two women do -- some certain things should be left to the parents to decide whether they want their kids to be exposed to it or not -- at least at a certain age."

Other parents have no concerns.

Erica Denesesn says she supports the teacher that's part of the LGBTQ community

"It's how the world is today and if you shield them from it, then it's just going to make a bigger impact later... and it might be kinda sideways. I think it's really great to expose them and just talk about everybody."

In a statement to Eyewitness News, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Unified School District said, in part: "As part of our engagement with school communities, our schools regularly discuss the diversity of the families that we serve and the importance of inclusion. This remains an active discussion with our school communities and we remain committed to continuing to engage with families about this important topic. Families are always encouraged to discuss important topics with their children and families may also contact their schools for more information about any school programs or activities."

The district added that the Los Angeles School Police Department would be providing additional patrols around the campus out an abundance of caution.