A school board in Southern California is facing backlash for blocking a new social studies textbook containing “LGBT issues.”
The president of the Temecula Valley School Board, Dr. Joseph Komrosky, called gay rights activist Harvey Milk a “pedophile” during a school board meeting last month.
“My question is, why even mention a pedophile?” asked Komrosky, making an unfounded accusation before the vote.
Komrosky objected to an elementary social science curriculum that included Milk, who is the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.
When meeting attendees protested that Milk was not a pedophile, Komrosky responded: “I beg to differ.”
Komrosky and other school board members voted 3-2 against the social science curriculum, which now leaves the district without a textbook for the coming year.
“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue,” Jennifer Wiersma, one of the members who voted against the new curriculum, said. “I don’t want them going into gender ideology.”
California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, expressed his frustration over Komrosky’s belittlement and the school board’s decision.
“An offensive statement from an ignorant person. This isn’t Texas or Florida,” Newsom tweeted. “In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn. Congrats, Mr. Komrosky, you have our attention. Stay tuned.”
The Inland Empire Family political action committee supports the board members who opposed this curriculum in schools.
The Pac’s goal is to “support conservative candidates who will stand for parental rights.”
“We’ve never experienced this before. I’ve never heard of a top performing district or any district say you know what we are going to withhold these materials,” Edgar Diaz, president of the Temecula Valley Educators Association, told KABC.
A letter was sent to school leaders across the state last Thursday warning them that attempts to ban books from classrooms and libraries in California could require answering to the attorney general.
“As state leaders elected to represent the values of all Californians, we offer our response in one shared voice,” read the letter addressing book bans from Newsom, State Schools Superintendent Tony Thurmond, and Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Access to books—including books that reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives of Californians, especially those that may challenge us to grapple with uncomfortable truths—is a profound freedom we all must protect and cultivate.”
The Temecula Valley Educators Association said the curriculum was “accurate, age-appropriate, unbiased and politically neutral” and was piloted by 47 teachers in the district’s elementary schools.
The Association has scheduled two rallies this month to urge the board to approve a textbook for the coming school year.
After last month’s meeting, the Temecula Valley unified school district extended the window for parents to view and provide feedback on textbook materials.
Thousands of schools across the U.S. are debating if teaching young students about LGBTQ+ issues is appropriate. Most notably in Florida, as Governor Ron DeSantis and the US. Florida’s board of education voted earlier this year to ban discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity across all grade levels, expanding what critics have called the “don’t say gay” law.
Protest over a planned Pride month assembly at a Los Angeles Unified Schools have turned violent as anti-LGBTQ+ protesters have become more outspoken about their children’s educational rights.
LAUSD has shown a united front with LGBTQ+ students, parents, and the community.
“Every student deserves to feel safe, cherished, and understood at LAUSD—and that’s the LAUSD we welcome students into every day,” Board President Jackie Goldberg said in a statement. “With this resolution, we affirm the value, safety, and worth of our District’s LGBTQ+ students, in part by committing to a strong Out for Safe Schools campaign this October. I draw from my own experience in telling our students: be exactly as you are, be that person with pride and enthusiasm, never let anyone tell you that that’s not an option, and treat everyone you come across in your life with respect and dignity.”
Donna Kronenfeld, a 5th-grade teacher who ran the pilot program for Temecula Valley schools, says the curriculum was based on educational values, not political agendas.
“We pushed aside political views, examined materials thoroughly, taking into account our students, their backgrounds, and what our job is in the classroom to uphold the California social studies curriculum and framework,” Kronenfeld said. “This is something we went through with a fine-tooth comb.”
From The Epoch Times