SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) – A Saugus Union School board meeting last week was so contentious it has now gone viral.
Video of the heated meeting on Feb. 5 elicited death threats from users on YouTube. Comments suggested violence against Saugus Union School Board President Julie Olsen. But more of the comments, including anti-Semitic slurs, were aimed at her colleague, board member David Barlavi.
“I have no control over what people say and do. I don’t agree with what they’re doing,” veteran Paul Rodriguez said in a phone interview.
Rodriguez says some in the audience were upset by Barlavi’s criticisms of President Donald Trump. But Rodriguez added he attended the meeting after receiving images of Barlavi covering his heart with one hand and holding up his fist with the other during the Pledge of Allegiance.
“We have veterans who have fought and died to preserve everything this country stands for, and to have a person like David Barlavi who’s not even – he might be a citizen, but he came to this country. He wasn’t born here,” Rodriguez said.
CBS2 couldn’t reach Barlavi for comment, but he has previously said that his raised fist is in support of Black Lives Matter.
As for Olsen, during the meeting she said, “Please only expect the board to take your comments under advisement for possible future discussion or action…”
That’s what drew Olsen into the fray.
Protesters and a conservative Youtuber accused her of unlawfully trying to restrict public comments. But the school district insists she was just following meeting rules.
Some of the threatening comments have been flagged and taken down.
Detectives are unsure if the threats on social media came from anyone local or from anyone at the meeting. In the meantime, the district is planning to increase security at the next meeting.