Oakland Unified Board Meeting Disrupted Once Again by Protests

The public was invited to attend the Oakland Unified School District board's meeting Wednesday evening, but the board was forced to move to an upstairs conference room after the meeting was disrupted by protests.

Parents, teachers and some students yelled at board members, demanding to be heard on the contentious issue of school closures.

Last week, the school board didn't meet in the Great Room at La Escuelita Elementary School at 1050 Second Ave. as it normally does, but instead held its special meeting on charter schools in an upstairs conference room.

Only the charter petitioners and the news media were allowed inside and other members of the public had to stay in the auditorium downstairs, where they were able to use a microphone to comment.

The school board took that precautionary measure in the wake of an Oct. 23 meeting where protesters rushed a metal barricade and were struck by police officers with batons and arrested.

"There will be an outside investigator coming in to look at what happened on Oct. 23 to analyze what went wrong, why they went wrong, who is responsible," district spokesman John Sasaki said.

That protest and other protests at recent meetings were the latest in a series of meetings against school closures and the growth of charter schools in Oakland.

The board held a scheduled closed session at 4 p.m. Wednesday before its open session.

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