A recall election last week decided the fates of two school board members in the Sunol Glen Unified School District who were elected during the pandemic, and they're out.

Ryan Jergensen and Linda Hurley were both recalled in a closely watched but very tiny election on July 2 — only 521 ballots were cast in total, in an East Bay school district that only has one school, a combined elementary and middle school, serving around 270 students. At issue, primarily, was a vote that the board took last September, banning the flying of all flags at Sunol Glen School except the US flag and the state flag.

The vote came after the school's superintendant and principal, Molleen Barnes, who had made the decision last June to fly a Progress Pride flag at the school. Barnes was later fired by the board.

The board is comprised of just three members, and Jergensen and Hurley were the two-person majority voting for the ban, while the third board member, Ted Romo, voted against it, and accused his fellow board members of "censorship."

Despite the tininess of the school district, the battle over the flag attracted a lot of attention given that it was taking place in the Bay Area, and some MAGA loons came out of the woodwork to show up at a couple of school board meetings as a result.

A recall effort began, and last Tuesday the community voted. Jergensen was recalled by a vote of 53% "yes" to 47% "no", and Hurley was recalled with a margin of 52% "yes" and 48% "no." In the case of Hurley, the margin was just 20 votes, and for Jergensen, just 28 votes.

These results are preliminary, and were reported on Wednesday afternoon, July 3. A county elections site indicates that the vast majority of ballots came in by mail.

"It's not like the definitive outcome that I guess we were looking forward to, but we are hopeful," said Chris Bobertz, one of the proponents of the recall, speaking to KPIX. "Above all we're looking forward to getting past this and moving to a more boring way of life, the way that things were before all this."

Bobertz also ran for a seat on the school board several years ago, and lost to Hurley by 26 votes.

An interesting sidebar to the Sunol Glen School story: Joel Souza, the filmmaker behind Rust, the modern Western film starring Alec Baldwin that's at the center of the 2021 shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, is a Fremont-based parent who has kids at Sunol Glen. As Souza told Bay Area News Group last year, the battle by the two school board members was "about them wanting to inflict harm on a group they disapprove of," and this was, "another shot in the culture war."

The fight over the Pride flag in Sunol pales in comparison to some of the book-banning and other culture-war fights happening in school districts around the country. Conservative pundits, radio hosts, and others have stoked the flames of these fights, with the larger strategy being to lure otherwise politically disengaged voters to the conservative cause, via their children. The fights have largely been about teaching about the existence of gay and trans people, about "outing" trans kids to their parents, and about sex education.

One school district in Temecula, in Southern California, came under fire for trying to ban a history textbook that mentioned Harvey Milk and the LGBTQ civil rights fight, villainizing Milk as a pedophile. A threat by Governor Gavin Newsom to fine the district $1.5 million caused them to quickly change their tune.

Assuming that Jergensen and Hurley are recalled after the vote is finalized, their two seats may be temporarily filled by members of the Alameda County Board of Education. As the Chronicle reports, the seats will then likely be up for election in November, and some of the most vocal proponents of the recall are likely to run for those seats.

Previously: East Bay School Board Member Who Voted Against LGBTQ Flags Says He's Been Getting Harassed