Grinches disrupt park gathering

Sheriff’s deputies escort costumed protesters away

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Douglas County sheriff’s deputies escorted about half a dozen protestors dressed as Grinches out of Highlands Ranch’s Civic Green Park after they disrupted an Oct. 5 parent-initiated rally.

Protesters attired in the same costumes — Santa suits with Grinch masks — have stood holding signs ridiculing the teachers’ union outside the Douglas County School District administration building during controversial meetings, at a June parent protest at Lone Tree’s Marriott hotel, and outside the debut Sept. 3 showing of filmmaker Brian Malone’s anti-school board documentary, “The Reformers.”

On Oct. 5, the Grinches initially were allowed to stay on the condition that they remain quiet, said parent Delana Maynes, who helped coordinate the event. But in a departure from their silent appearances of the past, Saturday’s Grinches wandered through the crowd, shaking tambourines and playing hand-held drums, in an apparent attempt to drown out the national speakers who had been flown in for the rally.

The rally’s organizers called sheriff’s deputies, who removed the Grinches from the park. The event was organized by Voices for Public Education, a group that has sponsored a series of speeches on education.

Though the identities of the costumed protesters on Oct. 5 are unknown, Parker police said the two Grinches at the Sept. 3 movie event were teenage boys paid for their time by an unknown adult man.