Thousands sign petition demanding resignation of O.C. school board member who was at Capitol rally
More than 6,600 people have signed an online petition demanding the resignation of a recently elected Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified board member who was present at the Jan. 6 rally that led to the siege of the U.S. Capitol.
Leandra Blades has been lambasted in the past week since she and a group of friends attended the pro-Trump rally, which was followed by the violent attack.
Blades denied her involvement in the siege in a Facebook post that has since been deleted. She said she was present at the rally, but left to meet with friends and get lunch after she heard of the violence unfolding within the Capitol.
“At no time did I incite, condone or encourage any violence or rioting,” she wrote. “At no time did I go inside the Capitol. There have been many people on social media making these false allegations. These are people who have attacked me in the past for my political views and others who I have never met.
“What they are saying is completely false. The history inside the Capitol is immense, as well as the beauty inside, which should be respected by all who enter. As a retired police officer I would never want to make fellow law enforcement officers’ job harder than it is.”
Blades addressed the issue last week on a YouTube interview with Andy Falco, who describes himself as a CBD expert, author and speaker. She said she was in D.C. for a “girls’ trip” but also planned to see Trump speak.
“I haven’t had a girls’ trip in years, in years,” Blades said. “I can’t remember the last time I had a girls’ trip. So to go with these two other girls, I mean it was like, it was seriously like having a slumber party.”
Kristopher Dreww and Michelle Peterson each posted since-deleted videos on social media. Huntington Beach Police Department interim Chief Julian Harvey said the police are aware of the two activists and would help the FBI with information if necessary.
Blades did not respond to messages seeking comment Tuesday.
Her comments were not good enough for many supporters of the petition.
“A person who has power to oversee what our children learn should not align herself with an extremist group that espouses the overturning of a democratic election,” one supporter wrote in the comment section of the petition.
“No person that actively participates in overthrowing our democratic process should have any participation in choices that affect these children’s educational environment,” another wrote. “Resign Now!”
The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District posted an online statement last week.
“Board members may make public statements and participate in public discourse on matters of civic or community interest and utilize their right to freely express their personal views,” the statement reads. “Board members also have a responsibility to identify personal viewpoints as such and not as the viewpoint of the board and the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.
“To the extent any public statements were made by or about any individual board member concerning the events that took place on Jan. 6 in Washington, D.C., we want to be clear that those statements were not viewpoints shared by the board or the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.”
Brazil writes for Times Community News.
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