Gender issues bring out crowd

AUDIENCE MEMBER with sign at Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education (OC Tribune photo).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

Controversies about gender identity that have roiled education and politics across the country emerged at Tuesday’s meeting of the Garden Grove Unified School District’s Board of Education.

The general issue concerned gender, but the specific matter was the claim that a GGUSD teacher was being fired – that night – for refusing to follow what protesters said was a policy requiring teachers to ask students about their gender preference.

But after a loud and sometimes rowdy public comments session before a packed audience in the GGUSD annex building – the main building is closed for renovations –  Board Member Bob Harden pointed out that there was no item on the agenda for employee termination.

Before that, though, several speakers addressed the board.

“There are many things happening in this country that we are not in agreement with,” said the first speaker, who said she was Jo Ann from Huntington Beach. “We do not agree with the grooming and sexualizing of children. I am opposed to this myself. As a Christian, I don’t believe it is OK to do this to our children.”

The second speaker, Jessica, said she was a teacher who had been fired from another district for refusing to inquire about a pupil’s gender and sexual preferences. She said that she was told she had to address students by their preferred gender – and lie to parents about that – and let transgender students enter the girls’ locker room, even if they were biologically male, “if it appeared they were transitioning.”

She added, “The silent majority is getting loud,” she said to the enthusiastic applause of most of the people in the crowd.

The meeting got progressively louder, with some in the audience accusing the board of being “communists,” “fascists” and even “Satanists.” One said that the board members had sold their souls; another offered to make a citizen’s arrest on Board President Walter Muneton for allegedly violating that person’s First Amendment rights.

Muneton eventually asked police to clear the room and, after, a slow exodus of audience members, the meeting resumed.

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