“Suppose native, act native,” wrote one other member.
At some native conferences the place the Proud Boys have proven up, they’ve spoken and threatened group leaders, in response to information reviews. At others, they’ve merely stood silently and watched. Within the Telegram teams, some boasted that they’d handed out their cellphone numbers to these excited by becoming a member of them.
Whereas the Proud Boys’ membership just isn’t public, Mr. Holt mentioned the group gave the impression to be rising in small cities and counties.
Typically, their presence has been sufficient to disrupt occasions. Final month, the college board in Beloit, Wis., mentioned it canceled courses as a result of a number of the Proud Boys had been at a neighborhood protest over masks necessities. In Orange County, Calif., the college board mentioned in September that it could 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 folks and is 2 hours southeast of Charlotte, Stefanie Adams, the college board president, mentioned she had learn concerning the group’s growing appearances and commenced monitoring the reviews carefully.
Ms. Adams mentioned she had an inkling that the Proud Boys would possibly 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 students every month, the district had dealt with many contentious conferences over the difficulty, she mentioned.
“I figured we had been on their radar, and that we is likely to 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 outdoors the constructing for the masks mandate vote.