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Sunol school board refuses to reverse Pride flag ban as tensions simmer

The Sunol Glen School Board declined to reverse their flag ban or affirm support for their superintendent on Tuesday night, in the first regularly scheduled board meeting since the controversial resolution was approved in September.

Wearing cowboy boots, board president Ryan Jergensen opened the meeting by saying that he expected “a civil discussion.” And in fact, in contrast to the last two meetings, tempers seemed to have cooled slightly.

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Sunol Glen, a tiny one-school district set in a bucolic valley south of Pleasanton, has become the Bay Area’s epicenter of an educational culture war that has spread across the country and California. When Jergensen and board member Linda Hurley voted on Sept. 12 to ban the display of a Pride flag from the campus flagpole, with third board member Ted Romo vigorously dissenting, the meeting ended in chaos, as the board president ordered the audience to be cleared from the room.

The next day, some parents in the tiny district kept their children home from school, and opponents of the ban hinted that they might pursue a recall against Jergensen and Hurley.

A week later, on Sept. 20, it was the audience who decided to walk out in protest during a hastily called follow-up meeting.

At this meeting, Romo introduced a resolution to reverse the ban, calling it “a constitutional overreach.” Another resolution was presented to express support for Superintendent Molly Barnes. Barnes publicly clashed with Jergensen over the Pride flag issue, and her job was seen to be at risk as recently as two weeks ago.

Earlier in the meeting, Romo opted not to attend the closed session portion, arguing that the “conservative members” of the board would use it as cover to initiate Barnes’ removal.

The resolutions were rolled into one agenda item, which critics said was an effort to curb public comment. The board ultimately voted to split them, and to allow 20 minutes of public comment for each, at the request of board member Romo.

Jergensen and Hurley declined to bring the resolutions to a vote.

“Now is not the time to ask me if I support her,” Hurley said of Barnes.

During public comment, community members talked about focusing on students and not letting a measure divide them. The jeers that had defined the previous two meetings had faded, somewhat. One speaker said that “we need to band together.”

Some blamed the Pride Flag Ban for dividing the community.

“The school never had a problem to begin with,” one parent, Matthew Sylvester, said during public comment. “Now we do have a problem.”

Castro Valley Pride President Austin Bruckner Carrillo accused the board president of shuffling the comment cards in order to stack public comment with his supporters. Another community member, Debbie Ferarri,accused board member Romo of disparaging the community and calling them bigots.

Many community members present spoke in favor of the flag ban as the public comment period opened, claiming that it sexualized children, among other arguments.

“This flag war is hurting our children,” said Fremont resident Jennifer Kavouniaris at the meeting. “We must accept that our American flag represents everyone regardless of their identity.”

Still, pockets of resistance remained.

“The issue is you,” Bruckner Carillo said of the board. “When we stop attending these meetings, Ryan and Linda will move forward with their hateful and harmful policies.”

The board will not meet again until December.

This post first appeared on This Story Behind Better Solution Weight Loss Will Haunt You Forever!, please read the originial post: here

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Sunol school board refuses to reverse Pride flag ban as tensions simmer


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