News (USA)

Conservative arrested for death threat against superintendent after district put on “watch list”

Conservative arrested for death threat against superintendent after district put on “watch list”
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A man has been arrested for making death threats against the superintendent of a California school district after that district was put on the watchlist of an anti-LGBTQ organization.

Forty-five-year-old Randall Graham was arrested for threatening Conejo Valley Unified school district superintendent Mark McLaughlin, leaving voicemails saying there is a “hit” on him and that “we’re going to put a bullet through your skull.”

McLaughlin told the Ventura County Star that he thinks the threats came about due to a parent’s unproven claim at a September school board meeting that her daughter saw one of her peers masturbate in class.

According to McLaughlin, none of the other students in the class have backed up the story, but conservative websites have covered it anyway and have accused McLaughlin of claiming the incident is normal.

A voicemail Graham allegedly left for McLaughlin says, “Hey, hey, Mark, congratulations. You officially have a hit on you. You’ve been marked. I would not get caught walking in public. I wouldn’t get caught going to work.”

Tensions have been high in the school district as conservatives continue to show up at board meetings to oppose the rights of trans students.

In May, a district elementary school was vandalized with graffiti reading “Pervs Work Here” as a response to a teacher’s affirmation of a transgender student’s name and pronouns. The teacher received support from the board and from McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said the situation has escalated to the point where parents have asked national activists to attend board meetings.

This summer, the school was also added to a watchlist of Turning Point USA, an organization whose founder Charlie Kirk has attacked transgender people and described opposition to religious exemptions as “fascism.” Kirk also once claimed that trans people are trying to turn human beings into machines.

McLaughlin believes that the national eye on the school district is what led to the threats being placed on him.

“The discourse in our district has always been there but that discourse has stayed within our community,” he said. “We have now seen that discourse move beyond our community and outside groups being brought in to deal with our school district and community discourse.”

Anti-LGBTQ right-wingers often argue that any discussion of LGBTQ issues is child abuse or pornography, which could be why they have accused McLaughlin of touting the alleged masturbation story as normal, conflating support for trans students with supporting inappropriate behavior.

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