Image Credit: Hamilton Flourishing
The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
Last night, conservatives in Hamilton County held a “Respect Fest” for HCS School Board member Rhonda Thurman following an attack by a local far-left group calling for her resignation.
Moms for Liberty (M4L) Hamilton County said in a social media post, “The leftists are attacking Rhonda Thurman and calling for her resignation. Rhonda is the absolute strongest conservative advocate on our school board. The left hates her because she calls out their nonsense and stands up for parents & students.”
The Conservative group Tennessee Valley Advocates for Freedom said, “We love and respect Rhonda Thurman. We need numbers to show support and a reason for her to keep fighting.”
M4L posted, “Let’s outnumber the leftist haters and show support for Rhonda!”
Outspoken District 1 School Board Member Thurman has never backed down from her conservative values in her time on the Hamilton County School Board.
When district schools were shut down due to COVID, Thurman pushed to get kids back in the classroom seeing the learning loss and literacy decline the shutdowns were causing and spoke about the ineffectiveness of remote learning.
In April 2021, when Hamilton county schools were informed they must prepare to take an influx of migrant children into classrooms from Joe Biden’s border crisis, Thurman was one of the few officials to offer comment on the impact this would have on Tennessee children, parents and taxpayers.
Thurman, who is a supporter of School Choice, was one of the few school board members who declined signing a recent letter to condemn comments made by Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn.
She told The Tennessee Conservative, “I did not sign the letter. As a matter of fact, I agree with what he (Arnn) said about teaching institutions.”
Earlier this year, Thurman headed up a special committee to address the presence of divisive literature found in Hamilton County Schools.
During a School Board meeting on October 21st of last year, Thurman challenged any of the District’s administration or librarians in attendance to approach the podium and read excerpts from some of the books in question.
“I want you to get up and read some of the things I have marked…Just get up here to the podium and read some of the quotes from these books…I want the taxpayers to understand exactly what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about a few ‘S-words’ or a few ‘D-words’ or a few ‘H-words,’ I’m talking about ‘MF,’ I’m talking about ‘GD.’ I’m talking about the ‘F-word’ until it’s ad nauseum. Page after page after page… I want everybody in Hamilton County to know, this is what your tax money is paying for,” Thurman said.
Thurman’s conservative stances are in direct opposition to the far-left group that has launched the attacks against her.
The group, Moms for Social Justice, in their most recent volley against Thurman have started a petition for her removal from office.
They cite a Chattanoogan article in which she is quoted as saying that Hispanic students who can speak little or no English are overwhelming the district’s schools.
Thurman is quoted as saying, “We had about 8,000 Hispanic students last school year, and at last count the number was 8,671 this year. They arrive every day at schools like Howard in groups of five or more. It is mind-boggling to me the burden it puts on the schools, the teachers and the taxpayers. Teachers tell me they cannot give the attention they deserve to the English-speaking students because they have to devote so much time to try to help the Hispanic students catch up. It’s not fair to the teachers, who have become really frustrated.”
In the article snippet they include for public viewing, Moms for Social Justice left off the part where Thurman suggests opening a new school where non-English speaking students could get the help they need and be immersed in English language learning.
Brandy Howard, of Moms for Liberty Hamilton County, said in response to Moms for Social Justice posts, “What Rhonda ACTUALLY said is – there are 8500 ESL (English as a second language/non English speaking students). Those students require additional resources from the school system. That’s absolutely true! Can you imagine being a teacher with 25 students, 5 of which don’t speak English? The teachers are stressed! (Real example from a teacher’s group.)”
Of note, Moms for Social Justice was found to be the source of books in Hamilton County School libraries that would have an NC-17 rating if they were rated like movies are.
In January of this year, the Hamilton County Chapter of Moms for Liberty discovered the group had been allowed to “go wild” stocking the shelves of elementary, middle and high schools over the past few years.
In August of this year, Chattanooga Moms for Social Justice partnered with the Hamilton County Democratic Party in advertising an event called “Cookout the Vote” which raised concerns that the organizations may be violating a 2020 Tennessee code that prohibits bribing voters.
The event in part stated, “Bring your “I voted” sticker (or just tell us you voted – we’ll believe you!) and get a free hot dog and chips!”
Only after concerned citizens reported the event to the FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance and Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office did the group change their advertisements to be a “Community Cookout.”
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com