Whereas the Proud Boys’ membership isn’t public, Mr. Holt mentioned the group seemed to be rising in small cities and counties.
Typically, their presence has been sufficient to disrupt occasions. Final month, the varsity board in Beloit, Wis., mentioned it canceled courses as a result of a few of the Proud Boys had been at a neighborhood protest over masks necessities. In Orange County, Calif., the varsity board mentioned in September that it will set up steel detectors and rent further safety after a number of Proud Boys attended a gathering and threatened its members.
In New Hanover County, N.C., which has roughly 220,000 individuals and is 2 hours north of Charlotte, Stefanie Adams, the varsity board president, mentioned she had learn in regards to the group’s rising appearances and commenced monitoring the reviews carefully.
Ms. Adams mentioned she had an inkling that the Proud Boys may present up in her faculty district, which has 25,000 college students. As a result of North Carolina regulation requires the county faculty board to vote on whether or not to proceed a masks mandate for college kids every month, the district had dealt with many contentious conferences over the problem, she mentioned.
“I figured we had been on their radar, and that we may be subsequent,” Ms. Adams mentioned. “We knew we needed to put together for them coming to our city, too.”
Final month, Ms. Adams was notified by the board’s head of safety, which she had employed for the month-to-month conferences, that some Proud Boys had been exterior the constructing for the masks mandate vote.
5 Proud Boys ultimately entered the room and stood within the again, Ms. Adams mentioned. They folded their arms throughout their tactical vests and wore matching T-shirts with photos of a rooster, the group’s insignia. Whereas they didn’t converse publicly, video footage from the two-hour assembly confirmed them clapping and cheering as anti-mask audio system made their case.