California School Board President Ordered to Pay Legal Fees Amid Flag Display Controversy

The head of a California school board, who faced scary threats because the district said only American or state flags could be shown, now has to pay legal fees to a community member.

This board oversees a small school in Sunol Glen with about 270 kids from kindergarten to 8th grade. They made a rule last September saying only the American or California state flag could be displayed. Some folks said this was a sneaky way to get rid of the Pride flag and other symbols of progressiveness from the school.

Ryan Jergensen, the board’s president, was part of the group that voted for this rule. He explained that despite getting death threats and having to deal with expensive legal stuff, he just wants the school to be neutral and fair for all families.

Jergensen even got a restraining order against a former trustee, Denise Kent Romo, because of the threats he and his family got. He says some of these threats mentioned things that Romo had said about him being against LGBTQ+ people and linked to extreme groups.

But Romo’s husband, who’s also a trustee, disagrees. He thinks Jergensen was trying to silence people who didn’t like the flag rule by getting the restraining order.

It got messier when Romo’s lawyers threatened to make Jergensen pay their fees and bring up anti-SLAPP laws, which stop people from bullying others using the courts.

Jergensen wanted to stop Romo from spreading lies about him and his family, so he got the restraining order. But even though he tried to drop it later, Romo still asked him to pay her legal fees, and the judge said he had to.

Romo says it’s not just about the money; she wanted Jergensen to apologize for what she sees as lies about her. She feels her family got a lot of nasty messages because of things Jergensen said.

Jergensen is frustrated with how things have turned out, saying it’s just a small version of what’s happening across the country. Despite all this drama, the flag rule is still there. But now, two out of the three board members are facing a recall election in July, which could change things a lot.

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