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.
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:
Wild night at the Houston school board meeting. And still no vote yet on who will take over low-performing schools. https://t.co/f6ujfkeVN1— Dianna Hunt (@DiannaHunt) April 25, 2018
President Rhonda Skillern-Jones has ordered officers to clear the room. Lots of shouting and anger, people refusing to leave pic.twitter.com/WQWb2bvN9X— Shelby Webb (@shelbywebb) April 25, 2018
WATCH: Police drag people out of heated HISD meeting https://t.co/dDMKly5Tvu— Houston Chronicle (@HoustonChron) April 25, 2018
Scuffle outside, a woman in an orange shirt put in hand cuffs and taken away pic.twitter.com/FUREiEiQu5— Shelby Webb (@shelbywebb) April 25, 2018
Another woman being dragged away from HISD’s board meeting pic.twitter.com/62NF43pDah— Shelby Webb (@shelbywebb) April 25, 2018
Houston ISD meeting being forcibly cleared https://t.co/8avJajy5my— Shelby Webb (@shelbywebb) April 25, 2018
I’ve just been kicked out of HISD’s board room along with all other members of the media. A district spokesman said we’ll be allowed back in shortly, but for now it’s just district staff— Shelby Webb (@shelbywebb) April 25, 2018
There are at least 18 officers from HISD Police and HPD inside the central administration building now. Likely more outside. The board room is now empty except for a handful of district staff. All the chairs have already been stacked pic.twitter.com/8KE4NfUX4m— Shelby Webb (@shelbywebb) April 25, 2018
At Houston ISD board meeting, Interim Police Chief Paul Cordova said one person was arrested for misdemeanor criminal trespass, one person was arrested for misdemeanor interfering with the duties of a public servant, and one person was detained but not arrested.— Jacob Carpenter (@JCarpenter219) April 25, 2018
Now folks are gathered by the exit. They’re trying to boo trustees, but it’s hard to see who are in the cars going by pic.twitter.com/XuDA7ekQbE— Shelby Webb (@shelbywebb) April 25, 2018
And here’s a report from KHOU11: