The incident occurred at a board meeting of the Chino Valley Unified School District (USD), where the topic of discussion was a resolution that will require parents to be notified if their child undergoes a gender transition at school. Thurmond was testifying against the measure and ran over the school board's one-minute speaking limit. In response, board chair Sonja Shaw turned off his microphone.
"This is not your meeting. You may have a seat, because if I did that to you in Sacramento, you would not accept it. Please sit," she warned. "You’re not going to blackmail us. You already sent us a blackmailing letter previously. You will not bully us here in Chino."
However, a determined Thurmond refused to leave the podium, and police had to usher him out of the building. He later tweeted that he had been "thrown out of a board meeting by extremists."
After Thurmond left, the board approved the resolution by a vote of 4 to 1, making it the first rejection of its kind of guidance provided by the California Department of Education. The measure will require schools to inform parents if their children seek to change their name or pronoun, identify as transgender or use gender-based facilities at school that don’t align with their birth gender.
Chino Valley USD is one of several school districts in Southern California to reject sweeping LGBT mandates and guidelines issued by the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom and other lawmakers are dealing with this growing resistance with threats and aggressive new legislative measures.
Parents are becoming increasingly fed up with governmental overreach in public education, an issue that was front and center during the pandemic as parents struggled with school shutdowns and mask and vaccine mandates. In the face of an onslaught of legislation that aims to give schools rights that should belong to parents, many California parents are finding that their only option is to try to reject these measures at the local level.
Thurmond, who is known for his radical gender ideology, announced earlier this month that he is “seriously exploring a run for governor in 2026” and cited "taking on MAGA extremists who want to ban books" and "defending classroom teachers and students against the constant assault on our democracy" as being among his goals.
Since he took over the role of superintendent of public instruction in 2019, test scores among the state’s public school students have dropped nearly 10 percentage points. Unfortunately, he appears to focus more of his energy on training teachers to help California students change their gender than improving their education. Just 35 percent of the state’s low-income students managed to meet literacy standards last year, while just 21 percent were considered proficient in math.
Yet Thurmond has been busy securing funding for training teachers to support students in their gender transitions and enlisting the services of partisan groups to write the training. The California State Legislature is currently advancing a bill that would require all middle school and high school teachers to complete the course.
Thurmond has also worked with groups like Gender Nation to place books about transgenderism in classrooms from preschool upward, and he is supporting a bill that will stop school boards from removing LGBT books that they find to be inappropriate. He has also joined an LGBT rights group in rating California school districts based on their transgender policies.
Sources for this article include: