A Florida parent was arrested Tuesday night after steering a school board meeting off the rails during a discussion of a restroom policy for transgender students.
Dean Paterakis, who’s running for Brevard County School Board, was carried out of the meeting by four deputies after saying the words “erect penis” after officials opened the discussion up to the public, reported Florida Today.
The school board chairman warned attendees not to engage in “profane, abusive or slanderous speech” before turning the microphone over to the public, but the official said Paterakis quickly violated the first rule.
“The reason why I am here now is that we are not putting children’s safety first,” Paterakis said. “When you say what we need to use language that is appropriate in what we do in our schools (and) should be what we have here. Would it be okay now if I showed a picture of my penis to you guys? Because that’s what happened.”
Andy Ziegler, the school board chairman, warned Paterakis to remain civil.
“We have a teacher who put his phone onto the big screen and showed, what the students say, was his erect penis,” Paterakis continued.
He was referring to a 2014 incident in which a teacher was suspended 10 days after briefly showing a photo of his penis in class after scrolling through photos on his phone, which was projected onto an overhead screen.
“That’s enough, Dean, that’s enough,” Ziegler said. “It’s not appropriate. No, sorry that’s not appropriate.”
Paterakis protested, and a security officer approached the podium, pushed down the microphone and grabbed the candidate’s shoulder and pushed him away.
“I have a right, I have a right to free speech,” Paterakis said. “I have a right to three minutes of free speech.”
Ziegler said he’d ignored warnings to be civil as two Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies approached Paterakis, and some of the crowd began chanting, “Let him speak.”
Paterakis dropped to the floor and crossed his arms and legs, and four more deputies came into the room to carry the candidate out.
“I think it was a fair request to ask him to be civil,” Ziegler told the crowd, which was loudly chanting. “We will not allow slanderous, abusive, or profane speech in the meeting.”
Paterakis was arrested and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest, and he was released from jail about 3 a.m. Wednesday on $750 bond.
That’s not the first time he’s been kicked out of a school board meeting.
Paterakis said in a Facebook post after his arrest that he’d been thrown out of a meeting a few years ago for protesting the Common Core curriculum, and someone had taught him to squat on the floor to prevent his removal.
“Pedophiles are in our schools and only a few citizens are doing anything about it,” Paterakis wrote. “I was hoping to inform the majority of citizens that do not know. But unfortunately the BCSO and BPS are proving to be the protectors of these pedophiles when they create trumped up charges to silence me from exposing what sick things are going on in our schools!”
Paterakis closed his post with a quote that he inaccurately attributed to Buddha: “There are three things that cannot long be hidden, the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
Watch video of Paterakis’ speech posted online by Brevard Times:
Watch video of Paterakis’ removal posted online by WFTV-TV: