OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Blue Valley School District voted Thursday to strip school board member Jim McMullen from his role as Vice President of the board.
The decision comes after a group called Blue Valley for All began circulating an online petition calling for McMullen’s removal from the board. The petition, which has gained more than 3,000 signatures, cites a series of controversial tweets McMullen sent from his personal Twitter account about the LGBTQ community.
“There is a higher issue here, we’ve got to protect our kids,” Board member Jodie Dietz said. “The message to our kids has got to be ‘all means all.’ Jim says ‘all means all’ but I think some of the verbiage he’s used does not convey that information and that is concerning.”
During a special meeting Thursday morning the school board voted 5-2 to strip McMullen of his title. McMullen and board member Kaety Bowers voted against the motion.
Bowers said while she doesn’t always agree with McMullen’s views, she doesn’t feel the board has the authority to remove him as vice president.
“If you censure Jim for an opinion you will fracture this community deeper than it is already. Perception of offense without requested clarification is the epitome of guilty before proven innocent,” Bowers said.
McMullen compared his experience to the witch trials depicted in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. McMullen
“I’ve been quite clear. I believe so-called gender affirming care and gender ideology harm kids,” McMullen said.
Board President Patrick Hurley, along with a majority of the board, felt McMullen’s behavior was out of line with district policy.
“While board members have a right to express their views on both partisan and nonpartisan matters and devote their own conscious about matters coming before the board of education. The board does not want to give the appearance that its views are represented by a board officer whose comments are inconsistent with the district’s stated mission,” Hurley said.
“As a cheerleader for our term ‘all means all’ I 100% believe all means all for all 23,000 of our kids no matter the makeup,” Board member Tom Mitchell said.
Dozens of people showed up to the board meeting Thursday. Many in the crowd brought signs and cheered multiple times during the meeting in support of McMullen. FOX4 reached out to several of McMullen’s supporters, but they declined to be interviewed.
Wendy Connelly has two children attending schools in the district. She said while teachers and other school staff have been supportive of her transgender son, it’s disheartening to hear anti-LGBTQ rhetoric from a board member.
“Our trans son feels extremely supported at school,” Connelly said. “I wish that leaders like Jim would also live up to the standards of those wonderful teachers and educators that make school a really great experience for my trans son.”
As of Thursday, it appears McMullen has deactivated his twitter account.McMullen will continue to serve on the school board for the remainder of his elected term.
“Our kids would be much better off if we can safeguard their innocence as long as possible, because the world’s tentacles are after them,” McMullen said.
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