Exclusive

High School Students Disrupt TPUSA Event With Jeers, Taunts; Smash Glass Table

   DailyWire.com
Photo courtesy of Kali M.

Political angst against conservatives has extended to one Missouri high school, where students overwhelmed an informational Turning Point USA meeting with jeering, shouting, and a protestor shattering a glass table.

TPUSA student activists hosted the informational meeting on Tuesday in the library at Lee’s Summit West High School, a meeting intended to welcome newcomers and help students share the group’s “pro-American message of freedom, fiscal responsibility, and limited government.”

But the high school’s Gay Sexuality Alliance and the Black Student Union used social media to urge students to come out and protest the TPUSA event, 17-year-old TPUSA student activist Kali Michael told The Daily Wire in a Tuesday evening phone interview.

The high school junior said that she and her fellow TPUSA activists posted informational signs all over the high school campus regarding their upcoming meeting. But the signs were all removed by students, she said.

A protest flyer against the TPUSA event. Photo courtesy of Kali M.

School officials who were supposed to attend the event as her sponsors deserted her as controversy mounted, she said. Kali described rushing around the school minutes before the event began, urgently seeking an adult to be present during their meeting as the school required.

“They definitely abandoned me literally last minute,” she said. “First hour, my first sponsor said he was dropping out. My second hour, my second sponsor said he was dropping out. Same with our third person that said he would support us if we didn’t have any other sponsors. And then he said no as well. And then during my third hour … I was running around trying to find people … I literally found a teacher maybe a minute before a meeting started.”

Video footage of the event shows Kali, dressed in jeans and an American flag sweater, attempting to speak to students who repeatedly interrupted her and can be heard jeering and laughing in the background.

WATCH:

The library holds about 90 students, Kali said, but so many students filled the building that it was completely full and students were amassed outside and looking in the windows. Many of the conservative students who wanted to attend the meeting were not able to get into the room because of the protesting students, and Kali’s own sister couldn’t make it in.

Kali said she wasn’t scared — she had prayed with her fellow TPUSA officers before the meeting, but she was stressed from running around trying to ensure that the required adult school administrator was present for the meeting.

Photo courtesy of Kali M.

“We were supposed to to just stay calm and collected,” Kali said. “And so that’s exactly what we did.”

The student said that the school’s assistant principal attended the meeting and tried to restore order as students became more angry. In the video, Kali pointed out, the assistant principal can be heard telling students that the meeting is over.

As the video ends, a young girl walks towards the camera, apparently leaving the room. She suddenly stops and steps aside as Kali gasps and covers her face with her hands, and the students in the room can be seen exclaiming excitedly. A “large” masked young man with long blonde hair had suddenly entered the room, Kali said, grabbed a table covered in the group’s informational materials, flipped it, and threw it onto the floor towards Kali, shattering glass all over the floor.

Photo courtesy of Kali M.

In the video, a stunned Kali covers her face in disbelief as someone shouts, “Hey guys, there’s glass, don’t come this way!” The assistant principal ran after the student who flipped the table, Kali said, noting that she noticed the young man and the assistant principal walking side by side later on that day.

“He wasn’t in the meeting either,” she said of the student who flipped the table. “He didn’t listen to what the presentation was, he wasn’t in the room, he was outside of the room. Pushed the door open, flipped the table.”

Overcome by the incident but unwilling to allow her opponents see her cry, Kali can be seen wiping tears from her face in the video.

I wanted to stay as calm and collected as I could, and I tried really hard, but I had already had kind of a rough day, and then that kind of threw me over the edge,” she said. “I was upset, and then I saw our secretary start crying, so I started crying.”

The school officials cleared the room of students except for Kali and one other TPUSA activist, apparently fearing for their safety, Kali said. When a student came to the door and asked to talk to Kali, the activities director cracked the door and initially refused that student entrance.

“Last week, when I started hearing about people protesting and starting a petition against us, I had gone to our principal asking for a resource officer and he had told me that he didn’t feel like it was necessary,” she said. “He made kind of a good point. He was like, ‘The last thing that is going to be good for your club is a video of someone getting a hold of a video of a police officer escorting someone out. And I kind of understood that from that point.”

The school did not immediately address why it did not provide the TPUSA students with a resource officer.

Photo courtesy of Kali M.

Photo courtesy of Kali M.

Photo courtesy of Kali M.

Photo courtesy of Kali Michael.

In a statement shortly after the incident, principal Dr. Chad Hertzog noted that students “attended the meeting to voice their concerns” and said that “the school processed a disciplinary issue.”

The Daily Wire pressed the high school on why it did not specify what type of disciplinary issue or why the school did not condemn the treatment that Kali and her TPUSA colleagues received.

The school’s Executive Director of Public Relations Katy Bergen told The Daily Wire late Tuesday evening that the TPUSA meeting was “held during an open period for students and open to any student who wanted to attend.”

Bergen, whose email signature notes the pronouns she would like to be addressed with, reminded The Daily Wire that “students have the right to protest peacefully, including in the school setting.”

“An individual did choose to flip over a table, causing the glass to shatter,” she continued. “The decision to turn over the table was limited to one individual and immediately addressed by administrators in accordance with district discipline policy. I cannot provide additional details to you or to parents because student discipline information is protected by student privacy laws.”

Students peacefully returned to class after the incident, she said.

Kali described a politically hostile peer environment at her high school, located near the increasingly liberal Kansas City, Missouri. She emphasized that her school principal has remained helpful and cooperative as she navigated beginning the TPUSA club on campus, but expressed disappointment in the statement that he issued following Tuesday’s events.

According to Kali, the school activities director went so far as to tell her that the school had decided her club could not go by the name TPUSA  — a statement that her principal would later deny to her. Lee’s Summit West High School has not responded to a request for comment on this point.

Kali believes that the incident and lead up to the informational meeting were intimidation tactics spurred by leftist hatred for TPUSA and conservative view points. “They definitely wanted people not to show up,” she said.

There have been many media reports on such incidents occurring on college campuses, but high schoolers intimidating one another to shut down a club over its political views is less common.

Kali thinks that “indoctrination and social media has a lot to do with it.”

“Our students are getting pushed down these views younger and younger,” she said. “I feel like they feel like they’re doing something righteous, being activist, for their views, thinking that they’re doing something good in their life.”

Kali plans to attend the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and get her bachelor’s degree in marketing and her associate’s degree in political science. “I like leadership roles,” she said with a laugh, “but after today I was kind of thinking that I might want to be in the background.”