Gabriele Maltinti. Getty Images.


California School Teacher With No Interest In Defunding The Police, Takes Stand For First Amendment Rights

The following is an excerpt from the new book Freedom Is The Foundation, by Aaron Withe, courtesy of Post Hill Press

The Glenn Laird Story

The sight of a student’s blood spilled on his classroom floor is not something longtime high school teacher Glenn Laird would soon forget.

The memory would not only haunt him for years to come, but inform his opinion regarding the need for police on America’s campuses.

Glenn was made to be a teacher. An easy smile combined with a soft-spoken, but firm manner and a personality marked by ardent curiosity, make Glenn exactly the kind of person we want teaching the next generation of citizens.

For nearly 40 years, Glenn has been an educator, guiding approximately seventeen thousand students through the ins and outs of graphic design, visual advertising, and digital marketing. Many of his students have gone on to successful careers in these fields.

This was enabled not only by Glenn’s commitment in the classroom, but Glenn’s involvement in taking teams of students to SkillsUSA competitions, in which the focus is on developing students for future careers in skilled technical professions.

Despite his commitment to giving his students a competitive edge in the job market, Glenn doesn’t consider himself right-wing, or even conservative. He is especially reluctant to label himself as anti-union.

For well over three decades, Glenn Laird was a dues-paying member of United Teachers Los Angeles. Glenn wasn’t just a passive member of UTLA. He served as a campus representative and frequently was seen on picket lines, at meetings, and participating in rallies and demonstrations.

As long as the union was working for improved wages, hours, and working conditions for its members, Glenn supported its efforts.

What he did not support, however, was the union using his paychecks as its own personal bank account to launch a political campaign to “defund the police” and remove them from school campuses, including at Eagle Rock High School.

From experience, Glenn knew better.

On September 12, 1986, Tony Thompson, a former student of Glenn’s, was shot and killed on campus. Tony was visiting to meet with one of his former special education teachers who helped him get into college.

While Tony was on campus, he asked a student, Shawn Christopher Boykin, about using a public pay phone. This interaction degenerated into a confrontation in which Boykin and another student, Andre West, chased Tony up the stairs and through the hallways of the school.

Eventually, West fired several shots at Tony, one of which struck him in the back and entered his heart, killing him. Thankfully, campus police responded to the situation immediately. One of the officers attempted to save Tony’s life by giving him CPR, while another pursued the shooters.

Meanwhile, Glenn had quickly locked his classroom door and sheltered in place with his students for over four hours. Later that month, Glenn would be one of only a handful of teachers from Eagle Rock High School to attend Tony’s funeral to pay their respects.

Horrifying as Tony’s murder was, it would not be the last time Glenn experienced student-on-student violence.

Years later, an argument between two students escalated from an exchange of words to shouting to a full-blown fistfight. Suddenly, one of the students pulled a box cutter from his pocket and slashed the other across the face.

As recently as 2020, a student in Glenn’s classroom attempted to strangle another student to death. Fortunately, the police arrived, and the victim’s life was saved. Campus safety has now deteriorated to the point that Mr. Laird has installed a peephole in the door of his classroom so that in the event of an emergency, he can see anyone outside who is trying to get inside.

These incidents were resolved quickly, but the impact on Glenn has been lasting, which made UTLA’s campaign to defund campus police all the more disturbing.

Glenn first caught wind of this campaign in 2020 when he saw emails, social media, and public statements from UTLA that contained rhetoric accusing police of being murderers and a force for evil in society. During this period, UTLA officials even appeared on Zoom video conference calls while wearing anti-police T-shirts.

Glenn had become convinced, as are many Americans, that a police presence on campus can save the lives of both students and teachers. To Glenn, this conclusion was obvious. How on earth could the union to which he belonged place its own radical, anti-police political agenda above the safety of students? And how could it disparage and demean the brave police officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect the lives of others — including teachers?

The next time UTLA sent Glenn a new membership and dues authorization card, he took a Sharpie marker and crossed out the portion restricting his ability to leave the union at any time. The way Glenn figured it, his money was his business, and he would be damned if the union he had supported for decades would force him to contribute to a campaign to defund the police.

Eventually, Glenn decided that he’d had enough. He sent UTLA a letter resigning his membership and dues authorization and asking to be released immediately. The union ignored his request. It refused to let him out. In partnership with the State of California, UTLA kept taking Glenn’s money and spending it on the union’s campaign to remove police from school campuses.

Tired of being pushed around, Glenn fought back. The Freedom Foundation made that fight possible. Within weeks of contacting the Foundation about his situation, Glenn filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against both UTLA and the school district, demanding that they recognize his First Amendment right to decide for himself what political positions he will support.

The result was a media firestorm across the country as pundits jumped at the chance to interview Glenn and discuss his situation. People were outraged that a dedicated public servant could be made to betray his deepest convictions by a union that was supposed to be protecting his interests. The fact that UTLA was trying to undermine the police added insult to injury.

While Glenn’s lawsuit is still pending, his mission to be the best teacher he can be continues.

When asked what he would have done had the Freedom Foundation not been available to come to his aid, Glenn smiles slightly and shrugs his shoulders, displaying the charisma he has developed in the classroom over decades of service to Los Angeles-area students.

“If it hadn’t been for Freedom Foundation, I am not sure what would have happened. Luckily for me and other public employees in similar situations, we won’t ever have to find out.”

Aaron Withe is the CEO of the Freedom Foundation, a group dedicated to combatting government unions. He is the author of the book Freedom is the Foundation. 

This excerpt is taken from the new book Freedom Is The Foundation: How We Are Defeating Progressive Tyranny By Taking On The Government Unions, by Aaron Withe, (June 12, 2023), published by Post Hill Press

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.


Create Free Account

Continue reading this exclusive article and join the conversation, plus watch free videos on DW+

Already a member?

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  California School Teacher With No Interest In Defunding The Police, Takes Stand For First Amendment Rights