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‘Wild night’ at Houston school board meeting as police drag out protesters

A woman is dragged from a Houston Independent School District board meeting. (Screen image from video)

A meeting of the board that runs the Houston Independent School District turned into a “wild night” Tuesday when a discussion about a potential charter takeover of 10 traditional public schools erupted and police wound up dragging some parents out of the room.

Members of the board of trustees were meeting with the intent to vote on a proposal to give up control of 10 low-performing schools — all of them in high-poverty neighbors with student populations that are mostly black and Hispanic — to the Energized For STEM Academy, a Houston-based charter school operation.

Scores of parents and others in the community who oppose a takeover came to watch the proceedings and to testify in front of the board. The meeting became contentious, and the board’s president, Rhonda Skillern-Jones, ordered that the room be cleared, as can be seen from the tweets below from Houston Chronicle education reporters Shelby Webb and Jacob Carpenter and metro editor Dianna Hunt.

The board did not wind up voting on the proposed takeover of the school, and it is unclear when or whether it will.

The episode underscored growing tension in Houston and other school districts about the growth of charter schools, which some critics see as part of a movement to privatize public education.  Charter schools are publicly funded but operate privately and sometimes by for-profit companies. The issue has taken on more prominence than ever in the Trump administration, with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos a longtime champion of charters and other alternatives to traditional public school districts.

Here’s what happened, in tweets and, at the end, a local news station broadcast:

And here’s a report from KHOU11: