Protestors return to SUSD board meeting

Attendees hold up protest placards against board member David Barlavi during the Saugus Union School Board meeting in Valencia on Tuesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

After having first protested against Saugus Union School District board member David Barlavi during the Feb. 5 board meeting, a group of protesters carrying signs and waving banners once again attended a SUSD board meeting Tuesday.

During the first SUSD meeting at which the protesters were present, those who spoke criticized a gesture Barlavi made during the pledge of allegiance where he placed his right hand over his heart, and his left hand in the air, balled into a fist. Barlavi has said the gesture indicates his support for Black Lives Matter.

Two days later, Barlavi confirmed that he had filed a criminal complaint with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station after having received perceived threats both during the meeting and in a YouTube comment section of a video of the meeting that had been posted online.

However, during Tuesday’s meeting, Barlavi did not do the controversial gesture, resulting in many of the protesters commending the board member.

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy stands at the back of the board room during the Saugus Union School Board meeting in Valencia on Tuesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I think it’s a great step in the right direction, and we hope to be seeing that from now on,” said Greg Aprahamian. “It should be kept outside … and (the board) should just be focused on the kids.”

Despite a number of the protesters shaking his hand after they had spoken, some others still called for either Barlavi’s censure or removal from the board.

“I think it’s up to you to set an example for our children (and) what kind of bleak, dark future are you leaving for them?” said Mike McCoy. “It’s your utmost responsibility to show our president and country respect…I think you should censure that guy …”

“I would like to thank you (for not raising a fist), but I’m still going to ask that you resign,” said Raul Rodriguez Jr.

Before the end of the meeting, Barlavi lauded those who attended and spoke and did not comment further as of 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday as the board meeting progressed through its regular agenda.

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