Jim McMullen Stripped of Vice Presidency Role on School Board in 5-2 Vote


Photo by Max Wolf

Jim McMullen presents his case at the April 28 board meeting.

In a vote of 5-2 at a special board meeting on April 28, the school board moved to remove Jim McMullen’s vice presidency status in light of recent anti-transgender comments made by McMullen on Twitter.


Following a 5-2 approval of the agenda, board member Jim McMullen opened the meeting in a full-capacity office room. McMullen began by expressing views on gender ideologies and gender-affirming care.


“For statements that I made that are supposedly anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ, I’ve been quite clear, I believe so-called gender-affirming care and gender ideology harm kids. Those positions are pro every kid, regardless of situation,” McMullen said. “Is it anti-trans if one objects to blocking puberty in healthy kids? Because that’s what gender-affirming care does. Is telling kids that they are born in the wrong body anti-LGBTQ? That’s what gender ideology teaches. Is objecting to trying to change the sex of autistic kids and kids who don’t fit rigid gender stereotypes anti-trans? Because that’s what this ideology promotes. Is objecting to the sterilization of kids anti-trans? That’s what gender-affirming care leads to.”


McMullen continued his statement by giving context to his views.


“I’m one of the older people up here, I’m a Gen X. We were the first generation who didn’t judge or ostracize our friends who came out, including my oldest friend in the world and my college roommate,” McMullen said.


McMullen concluded his statement by calling for action against his fellow board members, which received applause from those in attendance. McMullen was referencing the school board meeting last month, when the board voted 5-2 to keep two LGBTQ-related books in the library. A parent had voiced concerns about the books due to sexual content.


“We could just as well be here to censure the five members of the board who voted to retain pornographic books,” McMullen said. “If my statements are actionable, start with the actions of my colleagues here.”


After McMullen’s statement about his colleagues, the crowd could be heard saying, “Stop grooming our kids!” throughout the applause.


Following McMullen’s opening statement, board member Kaety Bowers, who was the only other member to vote against the day’s agenda, made her own statement in support of McMullen.


“We must strive to teach our children that disagreement does not equal hate,” Bowers said. “One should ask, is there a track record of cancel culture here in Blue Valley?”

Screenshot of Tweets from Jim McMullen’s account. Since the petition’s creation, his Twitter has been deactivated.

According to Bowers, the community’s rejection of McMullen’s opinion was harmful to the future of the Blue Valley District. Bowers said that if McMullen’s presented “facts” were rejected, the rejection would lead to worse results in the future, pointing to history for examples.


“I’m thankful that the narratives about smoking while pregnant were found unsafe. The stigma around AIDS is lessening and the awful bans around biracial marriage have been lifted… and the historical atrocity that Japanese Americans have been placed in internment camps. The point is, at one time, it was acceptable to believe something fiercely until it wasn’t. Thank God for the counterpoint,” Bowers said.


Citing Kansas statute 72-11-33, Bowers said the school board provides for the election of officers for one-year terms. There are no provisions in the statute to shorten that one-year term unless the officer resigns in writing. Following the conclusion of Bowers’ statement, she was met with a standing ovation from the crowd in attendance.


After statements from Bowers and McMullen, board member Tom Mitchell refuted their statements with one of his own. Mitchell focused on the ‘all for all’ motto the board had adopted into their agenda. 


“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,” Mitchell said. “I, too, worry about our future if we continue down these paths, with our ability to attract talent, retain teachers and the overall economic development of our community.” 


Mitchell reflected on past decisions and meetings held before McMullen’s comments. Mitchell said he valued that the seven board members had different ideas and thoughts.


“I voted with Jim and Katie on several measures and I voted with several of my board members on other measures. And I thought that was healthy. We didn’t need to agree 100%, but I thought the collaboration was very healthy,” Mitchell said.


However, Mitchell said one of the unanimous agreements was to get back to the district’s strategic plan, albeit with no official vote.


 “All seven of us in that room two months ago made a commitment to our superintendent that we would do our best as a board to eliminate distractions, so she could do her job,” Mitchell said. “Everybody remember that? We made a firm commitment, no vote that day. But it was a 7-0 agreement. 100% agreed. We want her to get back to our strategic plan. Back to the basics of education.”


Jodie Dietz echoed Mitchell’s statement.


“… I took a sworn oath to protect, to protect our kids… There is a difference. I love dialogue. I love dissension. I have no problem with that. But truly there is a higher issue here: we’ve got to protect our kids,” Dietz said. “It’s got to be ‘all means all.’ Jim says that he says, ‘all means all.’ But I think some of the verbiage that he’s used does not convey that information…”


Dietz became emotional during her comments, which were met by boos and jeers, including ‘pedophile’ being yelled from the crowd.


Gina Knapp echoed Dietz’s statement and followed with a short statement before motioning to remove McMullen as Vice President. Knapps’ motion was seconded by Dietz.


Knapp, Dietz, Mitchell, Hurley, and Amy Tyseling all voted in favor of the removal of McMullen as Vice President, while Bowers and McMullen were opposed.


School Board President Patrick Hurley proceeded through the final part of the meeting, concluding with his own message following the vote to remove McMullen as vice president.


Hurley concluded the meeting with his own message about the board’s intentions following the official vote to remove McMullen as vice president.


“Thank you for attending today. I want to assure Blue Valley family, staff and students that the board remains united in its commitment to provide learning environments,” Hurley said. “Strategic planning to stand by the belief that self worth and the ability to succeed are grounded in love, compassion, consideration and belonging.”

Photo by Max

With Hurley’s final statement, the meeting was adjourned and was met with applause from a minority of the crowd.


The crowd began chants such as “We support Jim.” In addition, many vocal members of the crowd declined interviews with larger media outlets in attendance, such as Fox 4.


Mitchell shared final thoughts during departure, following the meeting’s conclusion.


“These are troubling times and the polarization of our community is at an all-time high,” Mitchell said. “So I think this is an important matter. And I think as board members, you know, like I said before, our oath of office has to do certain things and this was an important topic for several of us.”