‘You’re not going to blackmail us… You’ll not bully us here in Chino,’ the school board president told the state official
By Hannah Grossman , Ashley Carnahan
The California State Superintendent, Tony Thurmond, was kicked out of a school board meeting Friday and escorted by police while protesting a policy to inform parents about a child’s desire to change genders.
The Chino Valley Unified School District policy, which ultimately passed, stipulated that parents must be informed if their child expresses a desire to be identified or treated as a gender different from their biological sex, intends to use the bathroom and athletic facilities of the opposite sex, seeks a pronoun or name change, or if there are mental health concerns with the child.
Thurmond objected to the policy, warning it “may fall outside of the laws that respect privacy and safety for our students, but may put our students at risk because they may not be in homes where they can be seen.”
School board president Sonja Shaw responded to Thurmond, accusing him of supporting an agenda that would “pervert children.”
“I appreciate you being here tremendously. But here’s the problem. We’re here because of people like you. You’re in Sacramento proposing things that pervert children.”
When Thurmond returned to the mic and asked for a “point of order to respond,” he was told, “This is not your meeting.”
“You may have a seat,” said Shaw. “You’re not going to blackmail us. You already sent us a blackmailing letter on the previous point of order. You’ll not bully us here in Chino.”
Thurmond then was escorted out by security, after he refused to leave the public comment section after his time had expired.
The superintendent responded to being kicked out in a statement, claiming he was “verbally attacked” and “thrown out by extremists.”
“I went to a school board meeting to stand up for LGBTQ+ students who invited me to join them as they spoke out against a radical new policy that threatens their safety. When done speaking, the board president verbally attacked me and instructed the police to remove me,” he said.
“I don’t mind being thrown out of a board meeting by extremists. I can take the heat — it’s part of the job. What I can’t accept is the mistreatment of vulnerable students whose privacy is being taken away,” he added.
Districts around the county have irked parents on the left and on the right over policies that keep parents in the dark about their children changing genders in school.
A Christian teacher in California, Jessica Tapias, said she was even pressured to deceive parents and later sued for religious discrimination after she refused to comply on the basis of her faith.
A letter discussing the Jurupa Unified School District’s issues with Tapias’ religious accommodation requests, said, “Based on your religious beliefs, you cannot be dishonest with parents… If asked about a student’s gender identity by a parent, you cannot refer the parent to a counselor, defer the inquiry and suggest they speak with a student…, or otherwise deflect the parent’s inquiry.”
Another teacher in California, Olivia Garrison, told The New York Times that children “need protection from their own parents.”
The teacher reported helping “students socially transition at school without their parent’s knowledge,” according to the Times.
Social transitioning is a first step for transgender children. It entails adopting new names, pronouns, changing theirclothing and getting haircuts to match a preferred gender expression.
School board president Shaw, a newly-elected conservative member, lauded the vote as an important step for parental rights.
“As a parent, we were shut down,” Shaw said. “We tried to have conversations. They pushed us out to politicians, I’m a soccer mom, I will say that I am a fitness trainer. I had no desire to ever be in this seat. The person that I unseated is a disgruntled ex-politician, and she’s upset that we unseated her, the parents.”
The superintendent showing up at the meeting comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., has shown an interest in policies passed by local school boards in the state. On Thursday, Newsom followed through on threats to fine the Temecula Valley Unified School District $1.5 million over claims the district banned a textbook because it mentioned gay rights activist Harvey Milk.
“The three political activists on the school board have yet again proven they are more interested in breaking the law than doing their jobs of educating students — so the state will do their job for them,” Newsom said in a statement.
Fox News’ Kendall Tietz contributed to this report.