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Sonja Shaw, president of the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education, told CBN’s Faithwire the slew of diabolical threats and messages is “a little bizarre” and said the reaction came after she and other board members opted to defend parental notification rights.
“It was a simple notification policy,” Shaw said. “There were certain things when I [was] a candidate that parents were voicing concerns about, and that’s why this policy was so special.”
The school board leader said the issue extends well beyond Chino Valley, though, as she’s hearing from people all over California who agree parents should be notified of their child’s decision to identify as their non-biological gender. The Chino Valley policy mandates parents be notified within three days.
“I’m grateful that we were able to bring a model policy forward for something like that,” Shaw said. “But … we did get some heat for it, but I do want to say, even though there’s heat, there is so much support from all over the nation, which I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.”
Watch Shaw tell her story:
Prior to Shaw’s 2022 school board run, she was part of a local grassroots advocacy group in her community. As California policies in Sacramento continued to impact families, she felt the situation started to “break some trust between the government and … families.”
“It’s really sad when you have all these proposed bills that kind of push the family unit away and they start creating some kind of weird secret relationship with our children,” Shaw said. “And we don’t drop our kids off to have some weird relationship.”
She said it’s one thing for teachers to speak and listen to children — something she appreciates. But Shaw said educators should “partner” with parents rather than conceal details.
This is one of the core factors driving the Chino Valley parental rights policy.
“Developing this policy is sending a message back that … we’re done,” Shaw said. “We’re done with them trying to break up the family unit. Parents need to be involved.”
She continued, “And to be quite honest, to assume that parents are dangerous, I think, is a dangerous thing, and I think it’s vile coming from the government — that they’re assuming that parents, right off the bat, are dangerous to their children.”
As for the threats and negative blowback Shaw has received, she said she’s undeterred in her mission. She praised local police for providing protection, her church community for stepping up, and other locals who have offered to pray and provide protection.
Still, the maniacal messages are disturbing and would put any mother on edge.
“[The] meeting happened on a Thursday,” she said of the July 20 board meeting during which the policy was passed in a 4-1 vote. “That Friday morning, I had received some very disturbing voicemails along with an email and … a call into our district.”
According to Shaw, one message was “talking about how they were going to … kill me.”
“I was sickened,” she admitted.
Shaw again noted how the community has rallied and said her Christian faith has provided peace. While authorities have already made one arrest over the threatening messages, the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education is now battling with state officials.
As CBN’s Faithwire previously reported, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond appeared at the July 20 Chino Valley school board meeting to oppose the parental rights policy and was escorted out when he reportedly spoke over his allotted time.
Now, the state is taking action against the policy, but many remain undeterred. In fact, Shaw said her policy could become a reality in countless additional California districts.
“They opened up an investigation with us with the civil rights office,” Shaw said of state officials. “It’s just another fear tactic.”
In the end, Shaw said she’s unwilling to back down, especially regarding parents’ rights over their children and what she perceives as government overreach.
“They want control, and we’re … going to stand up to the government bullies,” she said.
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