Proud Boys Regroup, focused on school boards and city councils
Although members of the Proud Boys are not public, Mr Holt said the group appeared to be growing in smaller towns and counties.
Often their presence was enough to disrupt events. The Beloit, Wis. School board last month said it canceled classes because some of the Proud Boys were at a local protest against mask requirements. In Orange County, Calif., The school board announced in September that it would install metal detectors and hire additional security guards after several Proud Boys attended a meeting and threatened its members.
In New Hanover County, North Carolina, which has an estimated 220,000 people and is two hours north of Charlotte, Stefanie Adams, the president of the school board, said she was aware of the growing apparitions of the group and had started to follow the reports closely.
Ms Adams said she had an idea the Proud Boys could appear in her school district, which has 25,000 students. Because North Carolina law requires the county school board to vote each month on whether to maintain a mask mandate for students, the district has handled many controversial meetings on the issue, she said. .
“I thought we were on their radar and could be next,” Ms. Adams said. “We knew we had to prepare for their coming to our city as well. “
Last month Ms Adams was told by the board’s security chief, whom she had hired for the monthly meetings, that some Proud Boys were outside the building for the mask mandate vote. .
Five Proud Boys eventually entered the room and stood in the back, Ms Adams said. They crossed their arms over their tactical vests and wore matching T-shirts with images of a rooster, the group’s badge. Although they did not speak publicly, video footage from the two-hour meeting showed them clapping and clapping as anti-mask speakers pleaded their case.