A trustee for the Placentia-Yorba Linda School District (PYLSD)—who was once part of an anti-terrorism effort by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department following the 9/11 attacks—is being accused of being a terrorist for participating in the pro-President Donald Trump rally in Washington D.C. Jan. 6.
Leandra Blades went on a “girls’ trip” to D.C. to hear Trump speak because she’s always wanted to go to a Trump rally, she told The Epoch Times Jan. 18.
A social media post by one of her girlfriends included a photo of them at the rally. The image was later used by people within the school district to demand her resignation, Blades said.
The photo was taken before the breach of the Capitol; rioting inside the building ultimately resulted in five deaths.
A group on Change.org called PYLUSD Against Terrorism claims that Blades in a social media post about the Capitol insurgence “supported the domestic terrorists while spreading false information, referring to those who attended the rally (and eventually rioted) as ‘patriots’ and blamed the fictional organization ‘ANTIFA’ for the actions committed by the ‘patriots’ she so openly supports.”
The story of her detractors’ claims on a petition, which garnered more than 8,600 registrations as of Jan. 18, has been widely reported by local media, despite the inflammatory nature of the group’s Change.org posting.
“There is a group of students in our school district who have started an Instagram page called ‘PYLUSD Against Terrorism,’” Blades said. “I’m a retired police officer, and after 9/11 I was a terrorism liaison officer for the department I worked for.
“It’s awful to be called a terrorist when all I’ve ever done as a law enforcement officer is wanting to uphold the law. I believe in law and order. I’m a strong supporter of our Constitution and I’m a strong supporter for the Constitution for both sides.”
She added, “I’m not a terrorist, and I’m not an insurrectionist—not any one of these things that I’ve been called.”
Blades, who became a trustee for the PYLUSD near the end of 2020, said she believes that the accusations against her come from people voicing opposition to her conservative views.
“We left the rally because we heard that there was violence inside and that’s not what I was there for, that’s not what my friends were there for, that’s not what the people around us were there for,” Blades said.
Prior to the insurgence, there was a lot of singing God Bless America, she said.
“There was a lot of waving of flags. It wasn’t until my husband texted me and asked if I was OK. I said ‘yes’, and then he said: ‘Someone’s been shot inside the Capital.’ My response was that I don’t believe anyone was inside the Capital. That was when he told me ‘no, there’s people inside the Capital and there’s people taking selfies inside Nancy Pelosi’s office.”
Blades said that from her group’s perspective everything appeared calm.
“We were at the Capitol standing around watching everything go on. That’s why we were so shocked to hear that anyone is inside the Capitol Building. It was kind of bizarre because we weren’t seeing anything. We just saw people waving flags.”
Conservative parents and students in the district have become emboldened by her speaking out against the accusations, Blades said. A group called Freedom of Speech has started its own Change.org petition, called Stand with Leandra Blades, in a show of support for her.
“I’m not resigning. I’m not backing down. I’m not going to hide just because I have a conservative viewpoint,” Blades said.
“Parents in the district have come out and told me they feel like they have no voice whatsoever because they feel like if they come out and just tell their beliefs that they will be bullied so bad. They are bullied into silence.”
She said schools should start looking at keeping “the politics and the social justice issues out of the classroom and going back to teaching the subjects that we are there to teach.”
“We can do so much better not just as a community but as a nation.”