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Prince William school board meeting cleared after arguments over capacity

Multiple attendees said they were upset by capacity limits placed on the room where the Prince William County school board was scheduled to meet.

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. — The Prince William County school board meeting had to be temporarily cleared Wednesday night after arguments broke out between attendees and security.

The meeting was supposed to start at 7 p.m. However, as community members waited for the school board to end its closed session meeting, a disagreement started over capacity limits in the school board meeting space.

Prince William County police officers and school security staff told the crowd the room had reached its capacity limit. But some locals argued back that the capacity limit had been arbitrarily set by the board to stifle public participation in the upcoming meeting.

Authorities and attendees went back and forth over the issue for more than an hour as board members waited in another room.

During that period, attendees with opposing views broke out into song and even got into verbal arguments amongst themselves.

Around 8:45 pm, both police and school security decided to clear the building for safety reasons. The school board meeting ultimately started at 9:30 pm.

“We believe it is critically important to have these meetings with proper decorum and safety for all those involved,” said Prince William County Schools Chairman At-Large Babur Lateef. “Security needed to clear the room in order to restore proper decorum and safety this evening.”

However, parents left the property before the meeting started. PWCS parent Dathan Salgado said he was disappointed he did not get to speak to the board during public comment.

“They really are afraid to let us speak and let anybody else hear what we’re saying,” he said. “They’re afraid. There’s abuse of our children going on. Their policies are abusive. They’re dangerous. They’re hurtful to my children.”

The school board did vote on one policy during its delayed meeting.

It unanimously passed a resolution requiring staff to either be vaccinated or tested for the coronavirus weekly.

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