Two school districts in California banned the display of LGBTQ+ pride flags this week, amid ongoing efforts by conservatives to crack down on the LGBTQ+ community’s visibility and civil rights.
In Southern California, the Temecula Valley Unified School District passed a resolution Tuesday banning all flags except U.S. and state flags, in a meeting that drew a large turnout of parents, teachers and students. “Tensions flared at times,” local news outlet KTLA reported.
Meanwhile, in the San Francisco Bay Area, chaos broke out as the Sunol Glen Unified School District approved a ban on LGBTQ+ pride flags specifically.
The Mercury News reported that the entire audience was thrown out of the meeting Tuesday night before board members took a vote, passing the resolution 2-1.
Some people in the Sunol district are now talking about recalling the conservative board members who backed the measure.
“A lot of average parents are about to learn a lot more about recall,” parent Matthew Sylvester told The Mercury News.
The Temecula board passed its resolution by a 3-2 vote. The three board members who voted together — Jen Wiersma, Joseph Komrosky and Danny Gonzalez — all received backing from the Inland Empire Family, a conservative Christian political action committee. In recent months, they have whipped up turmoil in the district with antics including a meeting on whether the district should hire an anti-“critical race theory” consultant, as well as launching a ban on discussion of California civil rights icon Harvey Milk.
The pride flag bans are part of a larger push by conservative activists to focus their political efforts on local school districts — particularly in California, given the hold Democrats have on the state.
The Los Angeles-area Chino Valley Unified School District landed itself in hot water this summer by requiring teachers to out transgender students to their parents. California Attorney General Rob Bonta has filed a lawsuit to stop the district. But others have passed similar rules, including Temecula and the nearby Murrieta Valley Unified School District.