After a contentious board meeting on Tuesday night in which the tiny Sunol district approved a controversial resolution to prevent the town’s single elementary school from flying a Pride flag, some local parents kept their kids home on Wednesday out of fear for their safety, concerned that the hostility would continue.
“It’s disconcerting, it’s scary, it’s not right. We’re reeling and trying to figure out how to push back against this,” said Matthew Sylvester, a parent at the school.
The meeting, at which the three-person board voted 2-1 in favor of the ban, eventually adjourned close to 10 p.m. — only after the entire audience had been cleared from the room by Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies.
But the following day, it was clear that the emotions would not be limited to one single meeting.
In fact, some community members said it felt that a dark cloud had been cast over Sunol the day after the vote. The previous night, after the audience was kicked out of the meeting room, a crowd gathered outside the cafeteria as the shouting and insults continued. Opponents of the flag ban said they were the target of “right wing agitators.” One supporter of the flag ban said he had his phone slapped out of his hand.
At the meeting, the back and forth between board member Ted Romo, who opposed the flag resolution, and board members Ryan Jergensen and Linda Hurley, both of whom supported it, got heated. According to Sylvester, opponents of the ban are now considering a recall effort against Jergensen and Hurley.
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Although that effort is still in the very early stages, he said that the majority of the community was deeply disturbed by both their votes to ban the pride flag, and their behavior at the meeting.
“Everyone saw what went down and felt it, and we’re not okay with it,” Sylvester said, “It seems like recall is one of our only choices at this point.”